In praise of reason

We live in confusing times… I remember only a few years ago watching the famous BBC documentaries about the Taleban’s insane regime in Afghanistan – their destruction of Buddhist monuments, their repression of women, their official homophobia. The era of the Taleban was as absurd as a Monty Python sketch, with its beard laws and its choice of executions (stoning or have a wall pushed over on you). We marvelled, I remember, at the way these twisted individuals had managed to overrun a whole country with their crazy beliefs.

The Catholic Church in England has little in common with the Taleban. While they are the representatives of a foreign theocracy, they are never to be seen toting AK-47s at airports, as the Taleban were wont to do. But they are, in their own little way, attempting to subvert the UK’s comittment to equality of rights and opportunities by attempting to derail legislation which would force them to allow same-sex couples to adopt children from Catholic adoption agencies with the same rights as hetrosexual couples.

Their argument, unconvincing as it is, is that the new legislation will interfere with the rights of Catholics to ‘make a moral judgement’, and thus denies them their human rights. A BBC presenter referred to this as ‘a clash of rights’ today on 5Live, as if we were dealing with two sets of faith-based beliefs which were in opposition. That is not the case. What we’re dealing with is the clash of basic human rights of equality against the traditional right of religious folks to exercie their prejudice as they like.

There’s no doubt that the Catholic adoption agencies have helped a lot of children and a lot of couples over the years. But it would be wrong for the government to cave in to demands by a religious group to legalise their dislike for gay partnerships. Modern society should not have to make allowances for the superstitions and prejudices of pressure groups.

On a different tack, I once again offer the marvellous badscience.net as a vanguard against those who would challenge reason and scientific practice in the quest for a cheap buck. More of this, please.

6 thoughts on “In praise of reason

  1. Honestly, I don’t think this is a question of rights. I think it is a question of choice. Catholic adoption agencies are not the only adoption agencies in the world, and even if they don’t allow same-sex couples to adopt, there are other (secular) agencies who presumably will.

    Then the matter becomes not so much stopping same-sex couples from adopting (which won’t be the case either way) but giving Catholic agencies a choice to make their own moral judgements about the best parents for kids.

    Why is this so hard to understand? From what I read, people are getting very excited about making everybody think the same way and I think it’s ridiculous. Do they plan to ban all religious schools and hospitals and charity organisations too?

  2. No, it’s about legalising discrimination. Organisations shouldn’t have the choice to discriminate at whim. The Church isn’t above the law, even if it wants to be.

  3. Incidentally, it’s worth noting that these agencies do allow adoption by homosexuals not in a relationship. This is clearly a political position that the Church is pursuing.

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