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Mr Cameron said that if necessary, he will legislate to make it clear that people can wear religious symbols at work. So: when’s he going to do it?

Three out of four claimants who say their religious rights have been infringed have been rejected by Strasbourg. What about them, Mr Cameron?

By on Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Shirley Chaplin poses with her crucifix necklace (Photo: PA)

Shirley Chaplin poses with her crucifix necklace (Photo: PA)

I see that Mr Cameron has tweeted that he is “delighted that principle of wearing religious symbols at work has been upheld”. The genial Eric Pickles said that he too is delighted. They were referring, of course, to the judgement in which, by a majority of five to two, judges of the European Court of Human Rights have supported the claim of Nadia Eweida, a BA check-in clerk, who was sent home in November 2006 for refusing to remove a small silver crucifix, that this was a violation of her rights.

But what about the three Christians whose claims were rejected by the court? Cameron and Pickles have said nothing about them: nor, in most reports that I heard, did the BBC (later they mentioned them in passing). The court ruled against Shirley Chaplin, a nurse who was told to remove a crucifix necklace at work. The judges said Chaplin’s employer banned necklaces for health and safety grounds, so asking her to remove the symbol was not excessive: though how this argument could be seriously upheld, when after a nursing career of 30 years not a single incident has occurred remotely involving her crucifix in either health or safety, beats me.

The judges also rejected the claims of Lillian Ladele, a local authority registrar who said her Christian faith prevented her from overseeing same-sex civil partnerships, and marriage counsellor Gary McFarlane, who refused to offer sex therapy to gay couples. In both cases, the court argued that employers had been entitled to strike a balance between claimants’ rights to manifest their religious beliefs and the rights of others not to suffer discrimination. Freedom of religion, they piously intoned, is “an essential part of the identity of believers and one of the foundations of pluralistic, democratic societies … However, where an individual’s religious observance impinges on the rights of others, some restrictions can be made.”

But exactly how does refusing to conduct a same-sex civil partnership ceremony, or refusing to give sex therapy to gay couples, impinge on anyone’s rights? There are plenty of registrars prepared to carry out this procedure: and the couples involved would have been quite unaware even of Lilian Ladele’s existence, let alone of her views on civil partnerships. As for giving “sex therapy” to gay couples, how on earth would a heterosexual person know how to do that? And would a gay couple having difficulties in that department really want the advice of someone so totally unqualified to give it? Would a heterosexual couple want the advice of a gay sex therapist? So why did Relate fire Gary McFarlane in the first place?

And why exactly aren’t David Cameron and Eric Pickles supporting them? Even in the case of Nadia Eweida, are we not entitled to doubt their entire sincerity? If Cameron, in particular, is so keen on religious liberty, whatever happened to his promise to legislate to protect them — yet another promise which has not been and probably will not be kept. And more to the point, why were government lawyers sent to Strasbourg to argue against all four claimants, including Nadia Eweida? This is what James Eadie QC, Cameron’s Government’s expensive barrister, told the court (on his behalf): 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, second, there is clear and consistent jurisprudence that the person who asserts religious rights may on occasion have to take account of their position.”

Isn’t that what Cameron really thinks? Believe what you like: but if your employers don’t like you making it clear that you have beliefs you expect to be respected, forget it? 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 and then fired completely, after 30 years of nursing. “It is insulting, humiliating and degrading,” she said when her case was first taken to the European court: she then said, Mr Cameron please note, “My Christian faith isn’t something that you put on and then take off to go to work”.

But isn’t that exactly what Cameron really thinks she ought to do, whatever he tweets? David Davis said at the time that “the idea that British citizens are not free to express their faith in the workplace is an extraordinary and oppressive interpretation of the law”. Cameron claimed to agree. “What we will do,” Cameron told the House of Commons in July, “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” (and as has now been confirmed, in the case of Shirley Chaplin), “then we will change the law and make clear that people can wear religious symbols at work”. Well, according to the law as it has emerged, that isn’t clear at all now.

So, Mr Cameron: when are you going to do what you said you would do? When are you going to legislate, to make it “clear”?

Me, I’m not holding my breath.

  • JabbaPapa

    Who has declared it a public freedom

    Why should anyone have to “declare” it ?

    Religion is, by definition, public, not private.

    That tolerance is not without limit though

    yeah right, in other words you are admitting that you want to see religious matters subjected to your own secular and atheistic values.

    Your whole vocabulary betrays that you are harbouring some extremely intolerant views about religion.

    the need to separate private belief from public behaviour

    Again, you are under the misapprehension that religion is strictly private — and your suggestion that beliefs and behaviour should be kept separate is ludicrous, because it is an impossibility ; no matter what your beliefs are, you will by definition act according to those beliefs, because these are what motivate you.

    The “opposition” are showing much more Christian spirit than many who claim to profess the faith

    Atheists do not get to define the nature of the Christian spirit.

  • JabbaPapa

    The “homosexual lobby”

    Again : I said “homosexualist“.

    Do you understand the difference ?

    As for intolerance, you are expressing your own quite effectively, IMO.

  • TreenonPoet

    Clearly karlf meant gene-based caution, not acquired.

  • karlf

    “Until the 19th century the Church was completely ignorant of the fact that human behavioural traits were the product of evolution” What is your problem with understanding this?

  • majorcalamity

    It is not I,or you, that “permits” anything in these matters. It is all of us, via the law, which permits us to do things or not. I am not dictating anything, whilst you are seeking to place yourself above the law.

    Yes,an employers rights to determine policy have been held to trump an individual’s right to behave as they choose. That effects us all, you and I included.  There is no hypocrisy, or double standards, involved in any way, as it is the same for all of us.

  • CullenD

    Ain’t that the truth!

    I’ve find most people extraordinary and complex, but when they become part of a group they often become average. Then if you class that group by a common denominator they become almost predictable.

    I admit… I like persons… but hate people :)  

  • JabbaPapa

    Q : so the employer’s doctrinal views must necessarily impose upon those of employees ?

    A : an employers rights to determine policy have been held to trump an individual’s right to behave as they choose

    ie — this is not an answer to the question that I actually asked.

    But then, that’s been your tactic throughout the entire exchange, hasn’t it …

  • karlf

    Jabba
    “Until the 19th century the Church was completely ignorant of the fact that human behavioural traits were the product of evolution.”
    What is your problem with understanding this statement?

  • teigitur

    Lol. You are a bit young to be at that stage, though there are days when everyone and everything annoys one.
     Still you are a rationalist, much less dangerous than many theologians. At least one knows where one stands with a rationalist.

  • Deodatus

    Poor Cameron – he grabs at every possible straw to gain electoral advantage.  He grabs at so many that too often particular straws are lost to the wind.  

  • majorcalamity

    As you have made many comments I will try to keep my responses brief. 

    “Homosexualist” does not appear in my dictionary, nor I believe in any other. It is a made up term used by homophobes to try to smear those who campaign for equality. I won’t therefore use it. Nor will I use “religionist” for I don’t see this debate as a battle between two opposing sides. I see this as cultural evolution and the gradual establishment of equality for previously disadvantaged groups. 

    That some groups, who previously enjoyed special privileges, get upset during the evolution is unsurprising but calm and careful reasoning will eventually succeed. We are all part of the same human family and need to share and respect.

    The only thing I am intolerant about is intolerance itself.

  • majorcalamity

    All I want is for the law to be obeyed. The idea that religious people cannot separate their private and public lives is nonsense. People are free to think and believe whatever they like. It is their behaviour which is regulated, and that applies to everyone, including the religious. There simply cannot be an “opt out” because of a strongly held belief. Many non harmful things are tolerated but the law applies to all. You can believe in racism, or that pedophilia is acceptable, but start to act according to those beliefs and you will be in trouble. You might be motivated by your beliefs, but you need to exercise self control and respect others.

    I did not suggest that atheists (of which I am not one) define Christian spirit. I am suggesting that many non Christians are demonstrating more of it than some Christians in these matters.

  • majorcalamity

    Not for me, or Richard Dawkins, to approve anything. All that is required is for the law to be obeyed and everyone will be happy. Except, of course, anyone who feels they above the law. 

  • majorcalamity

    No employer can hold, or allow their employees to hold, doctrinal views. I would have thought that is obvious, as they are also subject to the law. 

    Which is why I answered the real point, rather than your attempted diversion. The issues involved were NOT about an employer having a particular agenda. They were about their right to determine internal company policy.  

  • JabbaPapa

    What is your problem with understanding the statement : “you are a broken record” ?

  • karlf

    You told me it was “”This is just complete and utter gibberish”. Can’t you explain why you wrote that?

  • JabbaPapa

    You can believe in racism, or that pedophilia is acceptable … etc…

    How did we jump from this persecution of people simply wearing crosses, or objecting to demands by their employers that they must carry out tasks contrary to their religious convictions, to racism and paedophilia ???

    People are free to think and believe whatever they like

    Thank you for confirming that you are in fact under the misapprehension that religion is a strictly private matter, contrary to reality.

    Pious thoughts do not constitute religion — only acting in accordance with one’s religious beliefs does so.

    Including simply attending a Mass, which is an obviously public undertaking.

  • JabbaPapa

    http://en.metapedia.org/wiki/Homosexualism

    The paragraph entitled “Political activism” is particularly relevant.

    It is a made up term used by homophobes to try to smear those who campaign for equality

    No it isn’t, it’s a neutral term devised by political analysts.

    In other words, you have been basing your comments against me on false premisses, as has been pointed out more than once.

    homophobes

    Bigoted homosexualists love to throw this term of abuse around like confetti.

    It’s easier than actually taking notice of the substance of any counter-arguments, I suppose …

    previously disadvantaged groups

    Any disadvantages previously suffered by homosexuals were, as far as I know, purely financial in nature, and therefore concerned the taxation and inheritance laws.

    Two men remain, OTOH, biologically incapable of producing offspring together, so that it’s hard to see that it is to “discriminate” against them not to provide them with benefits and infrastructures that are designed for the assistance of parents with children.

  • JabbaPapa

    The entirety of the real point is that people’s religious ideology has been imposed upon for generally anti-Christian reasons (the case of the nurse is more complex, and involves some health and safety questions).

    The public expression of religious belief in a visible manner, and the right not to engage in actions contrary to one’s religion, is not within the scope of “internal company policy” as a concept.

    What is being questioned here is NOT, as you are claiming, the rights of companies versus those of individuals — but the question of Church versus State.

    The State is, by a deliberately aggressive policy of law-making, judgments in Court, and political propaganda, actively engaged in a campaign against the fundamental values of religion, and Christianity in particular, for no good reason whatsoever.

    No employer can hold, or allow their employees to hold, doctrinal views

    This statement is blatantly false, BTW.

    Just for starters, each CoE Diocese is an employer.

    I suspect that you’re operating with a bad definition of the word “doctrine”.

    Ordering staff to remove religious symbols for arbitrary reasons, or ordering Catholics to assist in the performance of abortions or to provide sex counselling to homosexuals etc, is necessarily motivated by doctrines.

    As is the abolishing of conscientious objection in public life.

  • JabbaPapa

    Alles in ordnung then, and we were all just following orders…

  • JabbaPapa

    He’s wrong.

  • majorcalamity

    As I have already pointed out we don’t live in a totalitarian state and have plenty of opportunity to protest and also to participate in the decision making process. However once those decisions have been made then we are all obliged to accept them, or face the consequences if we don’t. 

    To follow your logic to it’s conclusion would require one law for you and another for everyone else.

  • karlf

    He is wrong? In the whole history of the world, nothing has ever been shown to have been influenced by supernatural creatures.
    “There are many psychological ailments commonly misunderstood as demonic possession, particularly dissociative identity disorder. In cases of dissociative identity disorder in which the alter personality is questioned as to its identity, 29% are reported to identify themselves as demons, but doctors see this as a mental disease called demonomania or demonopathy, a monomania in which the patient believes that he or she is possessed by one or more demons.”

  • majorcalamity

    “The entirety of the real point is that people’s religious ideology has been imposed upon for generally anti-Christian reasons (the case of the nurse is more complex, and involves some health and safety questions).”

    That might be YOUR entire point but it doesn’t make it the real point, or that your point is correct. The real point is that this is part of a general movement towards equality and fairness for all. It has nothing whatsoever to do with “anti-Christian” reasons. The only reason you might feel they are is that some attitudes held by some Christians lead to unfairness and inequality. It are these which are being affected.

    “The public expression of religious belief in a visible manner, and the right not to engage in actions contrary to one’s religion, is not within the scope of “internal company policy” as a concept.”

    That is, of course, correct but is not part of the argument. No-one usually objects to displays of religious belief, but an employer has the right to decide their own internal policy. This might be about uniforms,  jewellery or to the establishment of an entirely neutral work place. That work place is NOT a public space, so is within the control of the employer. In public, outside of the work place, such displays are not disputed.

    “What is being questioned here is NOT, as you are claiming, the rights of companies versus those of individuals — but the question of Church versus State.
    The State is, by a deliberately aggressive policy of law-making, judgments in Court, and political propaganda, actively engaged in a campaign against the fundamental values of religion, and Christianity in particular, for no good reason whatsoever.”
    That’s nonsense. There are some very good reasons behind this as it is part of a worldwide movement towards equality, tolerance and diversity. That some groups are losing influence and special privileges might be unfortunate for them, but that doesn’t make it a campaign against them.  
    “Ordering staff to remove religious symbols for arbitrary reasons, or ordering Catholics to assist in the performance of abortions or to provide sex counselling to homosexuals etc, is necessarily motivated by doctrines.”
    Only if you want to refer to the law as a “doctrine”. I prefer not to call the law a doctrine, because it is something we all participate in establishing. It is not a belief system we just accept or reject at choice. No Catholic has been forced to assist in an abortion. Every effort is made to accommodate religious sensitivities. However, when you become a nurse or doctor in a country where abortion is legal,  you have to accept that there will be circumstances when you have to deal with it in some way.  If a counsellor joins an organisation which provides a service to every section of society they cannot be surprised when they are required to do so. Once again I know that efforts were made to find a compromise but the guy wanted to make an issue of it. This has nothing to do with any doctrine, unless you consider equality, inclusiveness and fairness a doctrine. If you do so consider then I am surprised that any Christian would find such a doctrine objectionable.

    Conscientious objection has not been abolished in public life.

      

  • JabbaPapa

    I described your entire post in that manner, not just the one quote that you cherry-picked out of it, and which is not even BTW accurately representative of the sentence that it was originally contained in.

    When are you planning on addressing the comments that I and several others have already made with some length and detail to these questions that you simply keep on repeating as if you imagined that people were interested in answering them on more than one occasion ?

  • JabbaPapa

    That might be YOUR entire point but it doesn’t make it the real point

    It’s the topic of the article.

    That is, of course, correct but is not part of the argument.

    Good grief, now you’re just deliberately dragging your feet.

    In what way are my personal opinions on the topic in question “not part of the argument” when you discuss them with me ?

    Are you more interested in addressing whichever strawman arguments in your own mind, or something ?

    That work place is NOT a public space

    Including a hospital or an airline reception area or a social services bureau ?

    All of these are public spaces, by very definition.

    That’s nonsense. There are some very good reasons behind this as it is
    part of a worldwide movement towards equality, tolerance and diversity.

    OK, you’re obviously completely unaware of the direct internal contradiction of this particular statement — it looks like you’ve already made up your mind, and will disagree with any contrary statements, even to the point where your opposition will dissolve into incoherence.

    I fail to see how a direct demonstration in your own words of the fact that the State is setting itself up opposite the Church is somehow contrary to my statement that this is about Church versus State.

    Only if you want to refer to the law as a “doctrine”

    I was referring to the arbitrary imposition of certain moral values and ideologies by employers upon employees.

    No Catholic has been forced to assist in an abortion

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/29/catholic-midwives-lose-legal-fight-to-avoid-taking-part-in-abortions-_n_1311215.html

    Every effort is made to accommodate religious sensitivities

    You are preaching the exact opposite of this statement.

    Once again I know that efforts were made to find a compromise but the guy wanted to make an issue of it.

    But I’d assume that the B&B clients / Stonewall militants “didn’t” want to make an issue of it ?

    Double standards.

    This has nothing to do with any doctrine, unless you consider equality, inclusiveness and fairness a doctrine

    I was right, you are in fact running around with a bad definition of that word — but really, at this stage it’s quite obvious that you’re unwillingness to participate honestly in this conversation is straining it to a breaking point.

    You’ve already decided that any objections to your position are wrong a priori.

    Which is fair enough — unless you’re actually trying to understand people’s actual objections to this whole business.

  • karlf

    OK, here is the fulll sentence, copied and pasted in full: “Until the 19th century the Church was completely ignorant of the fact that human behavioural traits were the product of evolution, and to this day continues to use ancient Middle Eastern folklore to explain negative aspects of our nature.”
    So how is it “complete and utter gibberish”? – have you answered this question? I really don’t think you have.

    “comments that I and several others have already made with some length and detail to these questions”
    Which comments are you referring to?

  • JabbaPapa

    karlf : He is wrong?

    Yes, I’ve already said so.

  • Tridentinus

     I would hazard a guess that very few such couples would require therapy in that department.

  • karlf

    He’s a priest isn’t he?
    But if parasum is wrong, what is the reasoning that leads to the belief in supernatural demon creatures? – bearing in mind that, in a world of billions of people, nothing has ever been shown to have been influenced by demons, and any credible medical body attributes cases of  ‘demonic possession’ to psychological disorders.

  • Frank Maguire

    Relax Dr Oddie. I see the Editor of the London Tablet is quite relaxed about the issue.

  • majorcalamity

    “It’s the topic of the article”

    As I pointed out in my very first post the topic of the article demonstrates very skewed thinking which needs challenging. Hence my claim that it isn’t the real point.

    You seem more determined to take offence at my words and criticise me than face the real issue. Which is that the outrage being shown by some religious people at the moment is spurious. They want to present what is happening in a completely untrue way. For people who claim to know the “Truth” this is quite strange. I am delighted that the recent judgement in the European Court backs the UK government and establishes pretty clear guidelines. 

    A public space must surely be somewhere where you are a member of the public. If you are there as an employee then you remain in your employer’s work space.

    “I fail to see how a direct demonstration in your own words of the fact that the State is setting itself up opposite the Church is somehow contrary to my statement that this is about Church versus State.”

    It isn’t a fact that the State is setting itself up opposite the Church, as I have repeatedly demonstrated. The State protects your rights, but it also protects the rights of others and on occasions has to determine where lines must be drawn.

    “I was referring to the arbitrary imposition of certain moral values and ideologies by employers upon employees.”

    They are not permitted to impose arbitrary moral values, any more than the employee can ignore reasonable instructions. In all the recent matters, but one, it was held that the instructions were reasonable.

    I am very aware of the story of the two midwives because this was another occasion when this shady aggressive religious group seeking to manipulate public opinion put up a couple of stooges and then spun the results. If you bothered to actually study what really happened it was exactly what I said in my last post. They had NO direct involvement because their sensitivities were respected. However, they worked in an environment in which abortions did take place and had to supervise other staff who were involved. It was another case where a balanced judgement had to be made. I suggest you actually read the article you provided the link to, as the headline is misleading.

    From Merriam-Webster

    Definition of DOCTRINE

    1
    archaic : teaching, instruction2a : something that is taught
    b : a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief : dogma
    c : a principle of law established through past decisions
    d : a statement of fundamental government policy especially in international relationse : a military principle or set of strategies

    Examples of DOCTRINEThe government was founded on a doctrine of equality for all people.

    Oh, I understand your objections because I have heard them ad nauseum in many debates with traditional Catholics. Just because I understand them does not mean I agree with them because I think they come from a fundamentally incorrect starting place.

  • Tridentinus

    “But I thought it was completely unacceptable, for example, for judges
    Vucinic and De Gaetano to distinguish between “gay rights” and “human
    rights”.”

    I imagine that you are saying that as gays are human, human rights include gay rights, I agree. The distinction I think they were referring to, however, would be between the ‘right’ to receive sexual tharapy regardless of sex and the right to conscientiously object to being required to do something which is absolutely proscribed by your religious Faith. I think that this was understood despite not being very clear.
    The reply you had from Cameron made the same distinction referring to a balance having to be struck between sexual orientation rights and religious rights. Here sexual orientation rights has to be construed as ‘gay rights’ as it is hardly ever going to be the case that such a legal confrontation would occurr between heterosexuals.
    The question is what are the criteria that determines right A to be superior to right B or vice versa? The answer has to be decided by arbitration, a Court of Law.
    You say that sexual orientation is not a matter of choice but this is not an universally held opinion by any means. One might say the same of paedophilia or zoophilia both strictly illegal’ likely to be for the forseeable future and pretty much universally condemned although there are lobbys to the contrary.
    On the other hand the argument that an employer can require an employee to carry out any activity providing it is not illegal is fraught with difficulty. Prostitution, for example, is illegal and yet the State could decide tomorrow that it is legal.
    If it were legal could not an employer of, say, a sales team change the job description so that employees were obliged to provide sexual favours for clients? If they chose not to on religious grounds (among others) would a Tribunal find for or against them?
    This is a far-fetched example I grant you and the and the answer today would be, resoundingly against. Yet the concept of ‘gay marriage’ would have equally bizarre in the 1950s.
    It seems that the strict application of the criteria of the majority judgement in the Ladele case, would undoubtably result in victory for the employer.

  • Tridentinus

     Oh, how those of no Faith are so willing to subscribe to H & E legislation or indeed any legislation that places restrictions upon Christianity or the Catholic Church.
    Hands up to this Catholic Newspaper for giving them a voice, allowing them to vent their spleen against Christianity and particularly Catholicism.

  • majorcalamity

    How do you know anything about my own faith? I just think that these decisions were all correct, as is the direction we are taking towards inclusion, diversity and tolerance.

    There are NO restrictions being placed upon any Church, or Christian. What is being asked of them is no different to that expected of anyone else. Please take a step back and try looking at things from a neutral position. Your rights to believe, to worship and to proclaim your faith are all intact. The only change is to acknowledge that others also have rights, and when they conflict you won’t always get your own way.

  • JabbaPapa

    what is the reasoning that leads to the belief in supernatural demon creatures?

    “reasoning” does not lead to the existence of things, beings, or entities — their reality does.

    nothing has ever been shown to have been influenced by demons

    Just because you reject their reality does not magically make them unreal.

    any credible medical body attributes cases of  ‘demonic possession’ to psychological disorders

    Any credible exorcist attributes the vast majority of alleged cases of demonic possession to psychological disorders. As the Church does too, and as should any Catholic.

    And ?

  • JabbaPapa

    Which comments are you referring to?

    You see, this is why conversations with you are such a time-waster, you’re so completely uninterested in other people’s opinions that they don’t even register in your mind, do they…

    Do you understand that continually ranting about such ludicrous concepts as “ancient Middle Eastern folklore” to characterise contemporary Catholic thinking is just gibberish ?

  • TreenonPoet

     I do not agree that the answer to the question of which criteria determine right A to be superior to right B or vice versa has to be decided by arbitration. Ideally the body responsible for the initial coding of the rights would anticipate such conflicts. I accept that this is not always practical, but even a cursory review of the European Convention on Human Rights seems to reveal a surprising lack of forethought (though the actual explanation might be political fudgemongering, but hopefully not a deliberate attempt to keep judges in employment). Furthermore, such rights should be amenable to amendment in the light of new knowledge, while maintaining coherence.

    The latest knowledge (supported by science rather than unfounded opinion) is that sexual orientation is
    not a choice. It must be controlled by society to protect people from harm, which puts paedophiles in a particularly difficult situation, but which does not proscribe most consensual homosexual acts.

    Although, in contrast, one is not born with a particular religion, it is true that religion is very often instilled in a child before that child is mature enough to excercise choice in the matter such that when maturity is reached it may be too late to undo. If the manifestation of a religion would harm others, then the believer’s situation is not so different from that of the paedophile – self-restraint is necessary. (Why religious institutions are allowed to indoctrinate children, and sometimes even to encourage adults to put their religion before regional law, is beyond me. Rewording of the right not to be denied education would help here.)

    The issue behind your argument regarding prostitution is a complex one.(You could say that I chose to be poor because I was not prepared to compromise on principles at points in my career, but I don’t regret it.) But do not conflate religion/culture with morality. However sincere Ladele’s convictions were, they were misguided, and one should not expect employers to anticipate made-up morals. The reality faced by an employer may be that one or two religions figure strongly in the local workforce, and the employer might pragmatically try to accommodate that (without disadvantaging minorities), but that should be the choice of the employer.

  • karlf

    Perhaps devils and demons do exist, but I feel that I have
    no good reason to think that they might.

    So what is the reasoning that leads you to believe in their
    reality? How do you judge an exorcist to be a credible one? How does the “credible
    exorcist” identify genuine demonic possession over cases of psychological
    disorder?

  • karlf

    Jabba, wouldn’t you class the creation myths, witchcraft, superstitions and supernatural creatures from cultures around the world as folklore? Would it be ludicrous to do so?
    Just because you reject the reality of bunyips does not magically make them unreal.
    The stories of Noah and Jonah are clearly ancient Middle Eastern folklore, wouldn’t you agree?

    So can I take it that you are not disputing my point that “Until the 19th century the Church was completely ignorant of the fact that human behavioural traits were the product of evolution.”? You did comment on this point didn’t you?

  • JabbaPapa

    So what is the reasoning that leads you to believe in their reality?

    This is you asking questions multiple times again, though they’ve already been answered.

    You’re hopeless.

  • JabbaPapa

    Time-waster.

  • Inquisator

    Logic, reason and sense can be attributed to God……. Catholicism, like all ‘isms’, is a human construct

  • karlf

    Are you referring to your experience with a person who was “possessed”? How did you know they were not suffering from psychological disorders?

  • karlf

    Well, I suppose I never really believed that you were going to answer those questions.

  • Blindatheist

    It is vital that the populace has the freedom to be wrong and barmy and to believe in any fantasy its likes.
    Religions were invented by man.
    Religions did not invent man.
    Get used to it folks!

  • JabbaPapa

    Of *course* religions were invented by man, given that they are all of them human institutions.

    And ?

    If you naïvely conflate God with the Religion that we have created from our worship of Him, you won’t get very far in your understanding of it all, I’m afraid …

  • JabbaPapa

    How did you know they were not suffering from psychological disorders?

    That is not something that I will ever discuss in a public forum of this nature, sorry — largely because Catholic doctrine and the Canon Law forbid me from doing so, given that I have no general nor specific permission to do so as a Bishop, or theologian, or exorcist ; and I have no desire to commit any of the associated mortal sins, as they are sins against God.

    I was just answering your question — belief in demons and devils is not a product of “reasoning” alone, but it is a product of their actual reality — contrary to the opinions, it would seem, of a particularly overzealous CH moderator, because stating the fact of their existence is not uncatholic in any way.

    If you are truly interested in this (which I doubt, given past experience), then I can only suggest that you discover some authorised sources.

    I’ll point out though that this is a very arcane and frankly very minor area of Catholic teaching, and it is central in no manner whatsoever to the Faith.

  • JabbaPapa

    You have failed to answer any of my own more pointed questions, such as asking you to demonstrate “consciousness” in individuals of the species Megaphragma Caribea, and given your obstinate refusal to engage in any kind of counter-debate whatsoever, I cannot see why on Earth I should have to subject myself to your interrogations — particularly given your extremely tiresome habit of totally misrepresenting any and all responses that you are provided with.

  • karlf

    A. Sorry, I really didn’t think you expected an answer from that “pointed” question – as I’ve never considered insects as possessing consciousness, I thought you were just being sarcastic.
    B. “your interrogations” – I’m just asking questions as you ask questions. But If you find they put you in a difficult spot don’t answer them. I’m not forcing you to do anything you don’t want to.