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Cameron said he would legislate to protect religious rights at work: so why did his lawyers in Strasbourg this week deny the existence of these rights?

This is one promise Cameron has to be held to

By on Friday, 7 September 2012

'The kind of liberal conservatism David Cameron espouses is a mishmash of the good and bad, and is completely divorced from Christian spirituality' (PA)

'The kind of liberal conservatism David Cameron espouses is a mishmash of the good and bad, and is completely divorced from Christian spirituality' (PA)

The mills of European justice grind exceeding slow, in Strasbourg at least; but the by now well-known test cases of four Christians whose rights freely to practise the Christian religion are being challenged by this government (three of them have actually lost their jobs for sticking by their faith) have now been heard, together, by the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg. Judgment will be handed down at a later date; how much later remains to be seen; this could go on for some time.

Let there be no doubt about what is going on; forget what Cameron has said about backing the rights of Christians, and legislating to protect them (yet another promise which has not been and probably will not be kept). The British government has actually argued in this case, through its lawyers (who were presumably arguing what they were told to argue) that Christians should leave their beliefs at home or get another job if their employers don’t like them.

Christians should accept, government lawyers have actually pronounced in open court, that a personal expression of faith at work, such as wearing a cross, means they might have to resign and get another job: there was, they argued, a “difference between the professional and private sphere. That simply means that the government says that Christians may not fully practice their faith at all (since we believe that there should never be any such separation, that there is no moment of our lives to which our faith is not relevant). This, these expensive QCs argued on the government’s behalf, despite Cameron’s promise that he would change the law “to protect religious expression at work”.

This is what, according to the Telegraph, his lawyers (I repeat, his lawyers) said. James Eadie QC, told the court that the refusal to allow an NHS nurse and a British Airways worker to visibly wear a crucifix at work “did not prevent either of them practising religion in private”, which would be protected by human rights law. He argued that a Christian facing problems at work with religious expression needed to consider their position and that they were not discriminated against if they still have the choice of leaving their job and finding new employment (my italics).

“There are,” he went on, “two aspects to this part of the argument. Firstly, resigning and moving to another job and secondly (actually, not secondly at all, he’s simply repeating the same argument because he has no other) there is clear and consistent jurisprudence that the person who asserts religious rights may on occasion have to take account of their position”.

“There is a difference,” he went on, “between the professional sphere where your religious freedoms necessarily abut on to and confront other interests and the private sphere. The employees concerned could indeed pursue all the generally recognised manifestations of their religion outside the work sphere.”

He then went on to expound a familiar argument, one that always intensely irritates me because of its total ignorance of how religion actually functions. The argument is that it doesn’t say in the Bible that women should wear a cross at work (duh!!) so it’s not required by their religion. Unlike the Muslim headscarf for women (actually, he’s wrong about that too), wearing a cross is not a “generally recognised” act of Christian worship and is not required by scripture. “A great many Christians do not insist on wearing crosses at all, still less visibly,” he said. So? A great many Muslim women don’t insist on wearing a hijab, either. As for “required by scripture”, there are whole areas of Christian moral behaviour which isn’t in the nature of things actually specified in the biblical texts; that’s not how scripture works (not Christian scripture, anyhow). The Bible isn’t, as someone once put it, “maker’s instructions”. The depressing things about this man’s legal arguments is their utter superficiality, the way in which they simply miss the whole point, not just about Christianity but about any religion.

Consider some of the injustices the court considered on Tuesday.

Shirley Chaplin was moved away from nursing to a clerical role by the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust in Devon after refusing to remove a necklace bearing a crucifix. She was subsequently fired, after 30 years of nursing. “It is insulting, humiliating and degrading,” she protests. “My Christian faith isn’t something that you put on and then take off to go to work”.

There is also the case of the Relate therapist who lost his job for saying, though not to his employer (who simply happened to hear of the conversation at third hand), that he might not be comfortable giving sex counselling to homosexuals. Gary McFarlane, a Bristol marriage counsellor, was sacked because his employer, who was already suspicious because of his open Christianity, learned that he had privately expressed his reluctance to give “sex therapy” to homosexual couples. Reluctance!! “Sex therapy”!! Ye Gods!! Of course he was reluctant.

Finally, there is the case of the Christian registrar who refuses to effect civil partnerships. Lillian Ladele, a registrar in Islington, was dismissed after she refused to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies on religious grounds. Dinah Rose, her QC, said the government’s argument that an employer could discriminate against someone because of their religious opinions as long as the employee was able to leave their job and find another one elsewhere was “startling”, and argued, surely unanswerably, that “an employer could have a policy of refusing to employ Jews because other employers will employ them”. Quite.

There has been support from some MPs for these people, but not enough. Most notably, David Davis (who seems for a politician to have been talking a great deal of common sense lately, mostly implicitly or explicitly critical of the Prime Minister) said he expected Mr Cameron to stick to his recent promises to protect religious rights. “The idea that British citizens are not free to express their faith in the workplace is an extraordinary and oppressive interpretation of the law,” he said. “The Prime Minister made it plain in the House of Commons that the Government believes the wearing of religious symbols in the workplace is a vital freedom. One therefore has to ask why the Government’s lawyers are the last to know.”

When this case had been raised in the Commons by Mr Davis in July, the Prime Minister was quite unambiguous in his support for the right to wear religious symbols at work. He said this: “I think it is an absolutely vital freedom“. He insisted that the Government would change the law if necessary to make sure employees can wear religious symbols at work. “What we will do,” he said, “is that if it turns out that the law has the intention of banning the display of religious symbols in the workplace, as has come out in this case, then we will change the law and make clear that people can wear religious symbols at work”. Note those words “what we will do”: so why doesn’t he do it? And why has he sent his laywers to Strasbourg, to oppose these four Christians rather than supporting them (or just staying out of the way)?

These are not rhetorical questions; I really would like an answer to them. There must be one. Did he mean what he said? If not, why say it, so clearly and unambiguously? He could easily have slithered out of any such commitment; Heaven knows, he’s done that often enough. Does anyone out there actually know the answer? Can anyone explain? Anyone? Me, I’m stumped.

  • scary goat

     That’s strange.  That’s not what Ofsted said about my kids’ schools.  Quite the opposite in fact.  We have about 40% non-catholics in our schools, including some of my muslim friends, and I don’t see any lack of tolerance. 

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by “purely materialistic approach”……and in the next breath “indoctrinating children with beliefs…..”  Which is it?

    Thanks for the suggestion of going for election.  I doubt if I have the means of doing that, but I would like to see others do so. 

    You seem to misunderstand what I mean by liberals.  I have nothing against free thought.  Free thought is different from “anything goes”.  I don’t want my children indoctrinated with sexual freedom etc.  I would prefer them to find real love and have a faithful marriage.

  • Acleron

    Nobody asked you to produce personal anecdotes, they are irrelevant to the evidence. The fact that you dodge around and try to denigrate the requirement for evidence is only a symptom of your lack of it. News reports can be checked and cross-referenced, if you find a newspaper that reliably reports results then you can conclude that there is a high probability that any individual report is accurate. But if a report contained the result Bolton 1000 Liverpool 0 you would doubt it on past experience and a knowledge of the length of time a match runs. You would require very good evidence for this. Similarly, when someone says a man existed 2000 years ago who was crucified, died and three days later came back to life you should require very good evidence for it. But there is no evidence for that, just claims written as far as we can see 30 years later. But it is central to your belief system that this happened. Therefore you have a belief with no evidence.

  • scary goat

    Yes, I’ve often wondered about the “thinking for ourselves” thing.  Actually if we all thought for ourselves we would still be cave-men.  Apparently it’s ok to listen to atheists, feminists, etc. and decide we like that after some thought, but it’s not ok to listen to St. Thomas Aquinas or Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman and after some thought decide that we like that.  Why is it only “thinking for ourselves” if we agree with them?

  • Acleron

    The lack of tolerance for anybody that doesn’t conform to your rules. 

    It is materialistic in that your ‘better’ education in catholic schools is a function of exam results.

    I prefer people to be happy, fulfilled and tolerant of all others. I don’t care if they get married, just live with their partners, indulge in any behaviour they like which doesn’t afflict others directly, are lesbians or homosexuals. I’d be slightly disappointed if they joined some myth based belief system but provided they remain tolerant I’ll support them. But beyond that, they should make their own decisions based on their rules of societal interaction. These are liberal ideals.

    And to a small extent this is happening in the UK today. 

    Freedom isn’t obeying some rule book derived from the Bronze Age and interpreted by people who have a quite different ambition than the well being of society.

  • Acleron

    Well if we had been allowed to think for ourselves from 2000 years ago rather than claw back the right 200 years ago we would be a lot more advanced.

    By all means read Aquinas and Newman and the bible. But do you have to uncritically accept it all? Aquinas was not the great logician that theists would have you believe and the bible is so shot through with contradictions internally and externally people jump up and down when they can find anything that can be externally verified.

  • JabbaPapa

    A+ for your continuing efforts to utterly miss my points — as usual !!!

    The contents of my mind and my memory are not located in newspaper reports, nor any other sources of evidence, except what I might contribute myself.

    Consequently, you are deprived of any and all sources of evidence to support your outrageous claims about the nature of my beliefs, and their relationship with evidence.

    The fact that YOU reject the general sources of evidence concerning the Christian religion, and that you are unavailed of any compelling sources of personal experience, does not require that these are both non-existent or that others than yourself must necessarily reject them.

    Third-party reports constitute evidence, this is a very basic fact about the human condition — you yourself must necessarily accept third-party reports as evidence on a routine daily basis.

    To pretend that this is somehow and *exceptionally* not valid for third-party reports about religious faith is to deny evidence a priori, and then hypocritically claim that this therefore means that the evidence is non-existant.

    Whether you believe that evidence, OTOH, is your own affair, and none of my business.

  • JabbaPapa

    The lack of tolerance for anybody that doesn’t conform to your rules.

    Ah — I see, you mean the same sort of lack of tolerance that you enjoy promoting in here ?

  • JabbaPapa

    Why is it only “thinking for ourselves” if we agree with them?

    Yes, exactly.

  • JabbaPapa

    And ? It continues to be a strongly-held teaching, because many Christians strongly believe that displaying their cross is an important part of their public Christian identity.

  • la catholic state

    Exemptions have been made for all other religions….but for the Christian Crucifix.  Tells you all you need to know really.

    And we must hear from Shirley Chaplin herself if she was offered a sewn on Crucifix.  There is so much hear-say going on….that only her word can be trusted at this stage.

  • scary goat

     You seem to have missed my point about thinking for ourselves.  My point was if EACH of us thought for ourselves without building on previous knowledge and experience there would never be any progress.  We would be like animals, with lack of communication, starting again with each new generation. 

    We ALL refer to what has gone before,  and think for ourselves based on that information.

    Why do you assume that I or we uncritically accept it all? That is just your own prejudice and superiority complex.

    Why can’t you accept that others may have reviewed the information available and do not accept your (atheist) particular view of things?

  • la catholic state

    Yes….the brutal atheistic regimes have passed away….brought down by their own evil and falsehoods.  The same will happen to secular societies.  They will abort and contracept themselves to oblivion.  The waves of time will wash secular societies away….and all that will remain will be various religious ones.

    And if you are speaking of the Yugoslavian civil war…..remember that it was a war (both sides were armed and at war) and not as you seem to imply a one sided tyranny.

  • Spaceman

    It is not the European Court of Justice – which is the top EU Court, but the completely different non-EU European Court of Hman Rights.

  • Acleron

    You brought up the example of a newspaper report, not me. 

    But there again, and not for the first time you claim evidence, so what is it? Or will it be more dodging around with fatuous references to scenarios somehow trying to redefine evidence as anything you personally want to believe.

  • Meena

    There you go again JP, making it up “on the hoof”.

    Einstein said that (both) his relativity theories were “not speculative in origin, but are founded on the desire to make physical theory agree with observations”.

  • teigitur

    Nonsense. A wedding band is allowed, and lots of space for bugs under there. Its all about control, nothing more. There have been no conclusive tests showing jewellery is dangerous.

  • teigitur

    There is an an atheist “A”?? Hilarious!!

  • Acleron

    What you describe is exactly how science progresses. But in science, you cannot teach someone that the standard model for particles is correct without explaining all the steps required to reach that conclusion. You also have to explain where the standard model is deficient, what it does not explain. Only by such critical analysis is progress made. You do not teach it by saying it is true because somebody else said so.

    Please point out an example where such critical analysis has been applied to faith.

  • W Oddie

    We’re talking about the ECJ in Strasbourg. Non EU, yes: but that’s what we call the European Court of Justice. You are confused by this  as many people are. 

  • TreenonPoet

     William Oddie, you wrote ”

    the by now well-known test cases of four Christians whose rights freely to practise the Christian religion are being challenged by this government (three of them have actually lost their jobs for sticking by their faith) have now been heard, together, by the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg

    Since the Government are not challenging the rights of four Christians to freely practice the Christian religion (and none of them lost their jobs for sticking by the Christian faith), I guess that case is not being heard at the European Court of Human Rights just as much as it is not being heard at the European Court of Justice, but Spaceman is right in identifying the relevant real-world court.

    You get the court wrong again in your latest piece “Dr Rowan Williams says that ‘aggressive secularism’ has nothing to do with persecution; Lord Carey and Bishop Nazir-Ali disagree. Who’s right?” (and continue to lie about the case).

  • Meena

    The religion followed by the pupils in Catholic schools does NOT, as you rightly say, matter when Ofsted reports are considered.

    The pupils may be half Muslim and half Catholic or anything else – what DOES matter is that they are effectively often selective schools.
    The middle-classes, whose children largely populate these schools, wish to retain their advantages. Catholic Bishops in London and elsewhere are aware of this and are trying their best to change the situation – but are fighting strong self-interested opposition.

  • Meena

    Jewellery is not allowed in most (virtually all) clinical settings.

    Yes, a wedding ring and sometimes an engagement ring is allowed – but it (they) must very often be covered with tape.
    Pendant style and other necklaces are never permitted.
    Next time you visit a hospital, I suggest you have a look.  

  • scary goat

     Sorry, I don’t know much about what goes on in London.  If you are talking about class selection rather than religious selection, I would be inclined to agree, if your statement is true. I do know that where I live, the Catholic schools that I know are not privileged middle class oases.  Particularly our secondary school serves a wide area and we have all sorts there.  One of the main areas served by this school is a large council estate.  We also have a high immigrant population in the school.  We also have admissions criteria in the case of over-subscription which gives high priority to children in care. As far as I know, Catholics are from all sorts of backgrounds, not predominantly middle class. If there are Catholic schools which apply a “class system” then this is wrong and the Bishop is right to address the situation. As far as I understand it, there are also state schools in more affluent areas which compare favourably with for example schools in large council estates.  There is inequality of opportunity in many areas.  This is a separate issue from religion and I see no reason for you to single out Catholic schools in your criticism.

  • scary goat

     Well, off the top of my head, I can’t think of an example that fits your requirement.  I don’t have a problem with science, Catholics don’t. It’s all great stuff. I just don’t agree that science is the be all and end all of everything. There are other disciplines such as philosophy, sociology etc. which address other aspects of life.  I’m not sure that you can apply the same criteria to these disciplines as to science.  Science can be proved right or wrong by mixing some chemicals together and seeing if it explodes or whatever.  Things like the effect on society of behaving in a certain way are not quite so black and white.  You can’t prove it except with time and observation, and the results are not so absolute, more of a pattern.  That does not mean it is irrelevant.  I think you are comparing bananas and peas. I also think it is an assumption that it is science v religion.  Just because science is proven, why does that equate to atheist culture being better than religious culture?   If someone else who has more religious knowledge than me can take up this question, please feel free to do so.

  • Acleron

    Science answers questions and allows provable predictions. The areas you mention are difficult for the reasons you give. The solution is not to ditch the scientific method and just take claims as proofs, that never works. 

    It is far easier in an atheist environment to discuss and argue about difficult topics and lack of dogma or doctrine means that all solutions can be explored. This is impossible in a religious setting where you are continually confounded by your beliefs.

  • teigitur

    We have a socialist government now.

  • teigitur

    I “visit” a hospital five days a week , sometimes six or seven. So I think I am qualified to comment on the matter. You seem to just make up stuff to be contrary.
    As I said you are talking nonsense. Whilst necklaces are banned there is no proven infection control issue with them.Wedding bands are allowed, except when doing proceedures, but that was always the case.

  • scary goat

     I can’t reply here the box is getting too thin. I will make a new comment.

  • scary goat

    Reply to Acleron:
    So can we agree to separate the subject of science from “culture” as they are different disciplines?  I have to mention that I don’t feel in the least confounded by my beliefs.  I am not a cradle-Catholic by the way.  I was raised atheist.  I do have some personal experiences which contributed to my conversion, but I accept that these are personal and unverifiable, except that a lot of people have similar independent experiences. I want to concentrate on the issue of cultural development from the religious/atheist perspectives.  You are arguing that the benefit of atheism is that all options are open to consideration whereas the religious perspective has taboos. I would argue that religion sets certain moral limits beyond which we should not go, and these limits have been set with a deep understanding of the nature of our humanity, tried and tested over a long period of time, and we disregard them at our peril.  For example, let’s look at the frequently discussed subject of love/sex.  Scientifically, we know how reproduction works.  We also know about hormones and brain chemicals and how emotions are linked with the physical.  Atheists and religious alike know this scientific information. The difference comes in how we interpret and the social limitations we set. I once read a quote, I can’t remember who said it, and I did find it quite amusing: Love – the cruel trick played on us by nature to ensure the continuation of the species. Doesn’t the atheist perspective see love as a social necessity?  Falling in love is actually falling in lust, therefore causing reproduction.  A mother’s love for her children is for the protection and rearing of the young till they are old enough to survive.  A father’s love for his mate and offspring is to be a provider and protector, again till the young can survive alone.  Friendships are for the protection and mutual benefit of “the pack”.  I also heard a joke before…..2 men sitting in the pub, one says to the other, I don’t know what women want! The other replied: Oh, that’s easy.  They want exactly the same as we want, just they want it in prettier colours!  I am tempted to use the same joke for religious and atheists.  I would see the religious perspective as accepting all the above definitions of love……except that we see it is having a purpose.  It is not a cruel trick played by nature, it is God’s plan, pre-programmed into us.  We see it as something we should go with, not something we should rebel against.  Yes, we fall in love/lust and reproduce, but we see a moral need to make that a responsible commitment in marriage.  If it is allowed to fall in and out of love randomly, and everyone is changing partners, you can end up with the next generation or two not knowing who their brothers and sisters and cousins are and genetic and emotional chaos.  What about human emotions of hurt, betrayal, jealousy? What about all the lone parents and the fatherless children?  It is not good financially, socially, emotionally. It seems to me that it is the atheists who want to throw out all the taboos……taboos which are intrinsic to our natures.  The religious accept our nature and codify social norms to make life run smoothly.  Also, the view of love as “secondary” to reproduction, and even reproduction is to be avoided (contraception) seems a rather cold approach.  For us religious, love is not seen in this way.  We consider love to be something wonderful which comes from God. It is not simply utilitarian.  You can call me delusional if you like, but scientific facts are one thing, how we interpret those facts is something else.  I prefer my prettier colours thanks. And my beloved Church teaches prettier colours, and I believe it. 

  • scary goat

     p.s. There is scientific proof about emotions. I saw a tv program once where they tested things.  They put a dish of blue goo and a dish of yellow goo in front of people and told them both are harmless, just coloured goo.  People were quite happy putting their hands into the blue goo but were most reluctant to touch the yellow goo.  (An emotional reaction because of linking the different coloured goo to other substances. )  Emotions are our equivalent to animal instinct. Whether you see emotion as pre-programmed by God, or evolved, or both, it serves a natural purpose.  We feel revulsion at things which we see as potentially harmful and comfort in things we see as beneficial.  I doubt if you will accept this, but isn’t this related to my “prettier colours” idea?  Emotions have a purpose, rationality also has a purpose, but shouldn’t they be complimentary? I don’t feel that rationality is all there is, just like I don’t feel that science is the be all and end all.

  • Acleron

    You ask to separate science from culture but then immediately launch into an area where you have rules that have been given you, rules which are being teased apart by science. 

    Love is indeed a wonderful emotion. We can even identify some of the biochemical pathways that induce the emotion. You say that your Church has prettier colours whereas I can not only identify the same emotions as you, I can also see the rich solution that evolution provided to arrive at the emotion, how it prolongs the species and how the same emotion occurs in other species, I look at your interpretation as a rather wan one. 

    There is nothing in those facts that points to a life long relationship and when you say this method has been tested I can see very little testing and a lot of religiously inspired male dominance and maintenance of the status quo. Now, in a primitive society, the male dominance and enforcement of fidelity, well fidelity of the women, allows the male to hunt,  gather and spread his genes. The continuance of such a system is now unnecessary. So let’s try different methods, especially as we haven’t tested anything yet. 

    Of course I’m not proposing breaking up existing marriage rites, if you want to live that way you have the right to do so, but please don’t decry anybody else living the way they want, especially when your opinion is based on a rule set that was generated for a completely different society and environment.

  • Acleron

    Lol, sorry, saw your first comment before this one appeared.

    The science is a lot more fundamental than that. We can identify many physiological reactions connected to the emotion of love, there even overt signs such as pupil diameter that are indicative, but the substance of my answer is in the other post.

  • scary goat

     Ok, fair enough. You can try whatever methods you like, and I will stick with the method I like. It’s up to each individual to choose his path.  I would have thought that the results of the last 50 years of experimenting with new methods were already beginning to take their toll, I can see it all around me.  Clearly you have a different perspective.  

  • JabbaPapa

    You’re confusing it with sexual desire.

  • JabbaPapa

     the desire to make physical theory agree with observations

    … belongs to Metaphysics.

    Specifically, to the relationship between perception and knowledge.

    Of course in this particular case, Einstein transformed these particular Metaphysics questions into Physics ones.

  • JabbaPapa

    sugar in one’s tea

    … ruins it by making it taste revolting.

  • Acleron


  • Acleron

    The vast majority of scientists and that included Einstein, reject and ignore the metaphysical and philosophical mumblings as verbiage without content. Strangely, having wrested the real thinking away from the mumblers, progress has been speedy. There are numerous efforts by the mumblers to claim some importance in science, but like yourself, they can never come up with anything they can do that science isn’t already doing. They are certainly of no earthly use. 

    The only reason philosophy hangs on in universities is because they are even cheaper than maths departments. Maths requires a board eraser to rub out mistakes, philosophers never rub out their mistakes.

  • scary goat

     Ok, now I’ve had a sleep, actually I do want to question a couple of your points. Can you provide some of this scientific evidence which contradicts my position please.

    There is nothing in those facts that points to a life long relationship: I thought I already covered that.  If it is not a life long relationship, women and men are having children with different partners. Apart from the fact that it rarely works well (I know in some cases it does) for step-parents to raise children, it is also inclined to lead to in-breeding in following generations. I have seen statistics which indicate around 50% of second marriages fail and 90% of third marriages. Women reach menopause at around 50. This allows 20 years to raise the last child in a normal life-span of around 70 years.

    If fidelity is enforced on women, who exactly are the men “spreading their genes” with?

    Male dominance is natural as the protector and provider.  In Christian marriage where it is a partnership of care for life, I see this as a positive thing.  I see natural male dominance when taken out of this context can become destructive.  Males relieved of the social norms of marriage and fatherhood, lost their identity in the face of radical feminism, can become hunter/predators seeking out sex without responsibility in a meaningless context.

    I am not decrying anybody else.  I take people as I find them in their life’s circumstances.  I have a motley crew of friends. I’m pretty motley myself too, actually :-D  What concerns me is the common good.  From what I can see around me, the removing of traditional taboos and the experimenting has done more harm than good. 

  • Giorgio


     For information contact

    The man that hears

         God’s Voice

    At: 00353(0) 66713



    A warning from




    My happy people have become confused.


    Why is the Catholic Church failing to justify the
    support of its own followers?


    Why does a church denounce its own teachings?


    My Christian people must return to the teachings of

    Old Testament, otherwise the devil will take over

    Christian country in Europe
    and the World.


    If Christianity fails, then Human beings will
    enter a time of destroying themselves, as predicted in the Old
    Testament. I want my people to understand this is not what God wants


    The devil has become active in the World and is using
    money and power to achieve his objective which is to destroy


    The European Union has become a corrupt union and is
    being used by the devil to achieve his objective.


    I want My Pope to encourage all Christian countries
    to withdraw from this European Union. By doing this we will destroy the

    devils work and help our Christian people to avoid
    disaster and also avoid the destruction of   Christianity.


    God Has Spoken


  • JabbaPapa

    ZOMG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Will Davey-boy pander to his Tuscany next-door neighbours ???


    Will David just cash out and grab his $327 cheque instead !!!!

  • Acleron

    I think you are using marriage as a yardstick for some sort of success. Is it really necessary? Are kids affected adversely by not being in the standard two parents relationship? I asked these questions because they are assumed to be true but there is little evidence for them.

    Male dominance is the norm in this country and many other ethnic groups but is it natural? Some societies have a male/female divide where the sexes have different functions but neither is dominant. Extremes of dominance by either sex appear to be dangerous and anti-social. There is a debate going on in atheism at the moment of the role of feminism. As an aside, I would ask anyone who thinks they have been violently offended by atheism to look up atheism+ and see what we do to ourselves. 
    The sexual predator is something to be avoided in society. I’ve known several, they have all been married.

  • scary goat

     Well, in my opinion, not ALL kids who are in a non-standard family suffer, but overall, yes, the lack of a stable family is a disadvantage.  Of course there are also kids who suffer in standard families.  I am looking at general patterns.  Little evidence? I don’t know where you are getting your little evidence from…..I see real evidence all around me in the people I know. And it’s not only kids.  what about the abandonned partner? The lone parent?

    I used the term “male dominance” because that was the term you used. I meant it more in the sense of having greater physical strength, being the provider and protector, the main bread winner, free to do so while the wife takes the “carer” role, at least for young children. I certainly agree that dominance in itself is not a good thing.  I see male and female roles as complimentary. Amongst most (elderly and traditional) Catholics that I know, I don’t see men bullying their wives. I see co-operation. Don’t forget the sanctity of marriage applies to men too.  I know divorced Catholic men who have never re-married…they live in the social atmosphere of a parish community.

    Sexual predators is quite a strong term.  I wasn’t really referring to the real psychopathic types, more the careless, irresponsible types who see no harm in casual sexual relationships. This is currently prevalent, and not only men, I might add!  It seems to me that the current climate has caused a lack of trust between men and women, I would guess because of lack of commitment. 

    I know marriages can go wrong, badly wrong. Any system can be abused, and we need to be aware of those who fall by the wayside and find a compassionate solution for them.  However, I don’t think throwing away the baby with the bath water is a good idea. Just because there are inevitably some “victims” of the system because that’s human nature, doesn’t mean we should throw away the whole system, rather we should look at how we can “fine tune” the system to care for those who fall through the cracks.

  • Acleron

    We differ in our definition of evidence. The evidence I want to see are checkable statistics. Figures whose collection follows a methodology that avoids preselection based on result desired. Anecdotes and personal experience are not adequate. I could talk about my anecdotal evidence, one parent families where the whole family is happy and stable, or a young boy whose father died and mother is mentally disabled being brought up by foster parents. But we all have anecdotes and all have opinions. I’d rather base my opinions on facts and not on  anecdotes. That’s why I say the evidence is thin on the ground.

    You may feel that modern habits are wrong but is it for you to criticise? Without the sort of evidence I want to see, you are trying to enforce your opinion on others. There has been too much of that in the past. If you want the old fashioned marriage then nobody wishes to stop you, others want something different.

  • scary goat

     Why do you not seem to understand that “worrying about the state of things” is not the same as criticizing? I am not trying to “enforce” anything on anybody, everyone can do as he/she likes.  But if I have an opinion (which, by the way isn’t only mine, it is shared by a lot of people, not to mention the Catholic Church, which is pretty massive) which I feel may be helpful to the common good, I have a right, if not a responsibility to share it.  We are discussing the nature of human relationships here. Did I come round to your house and bully your girlfriend because you don’t have a marriage certificate, or whatever the case may be?  I have plenty of friends who are unmarried, divorced, etc etc. I am not criticizing them. I feel worried about the society that put them in the positions they are in.  Anyway, you have a right to your opinion and I have a right to mine.

  • Acleron

    I am not trying to “enforce” anything on anybody, everyone can do as he/she likes.’

    Good, I’m glad to see that. So you will have no objection to homosexuals marrying or allowing people to die at a time of their choosing nor women who want abortions.

    You may feel I’ve unfairly widened the debate but for me the argument is about freedom of choice and marriage is just part of that right.

  • Tridentinus

     How much of the socialist legislation has this government repealed? Very little indeed.  Top of the list should have been the infamous Equalities Act which the Conservative opposition nodded through just prior to the Dissolution in 2010.
    The present government is no different from the one which preceded it, worse in some cases, so if we do get a socialist government in 2015 nothing will have changed.

    Given this, its worth taking a punt on UKIP.

  • Tridentinus

     Exactly, I couldn’t agree more, even the only senior, Catholic, cabinet minister is in favour of same-sex ‘marriage’.