Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Justice Laws Judgment

The judgment by Lord Justice Laws in the recent case of a Relate counsellor who refused to advise a homosexual client, although rather technical, is worth reading for the much wider implications of his ruling, including his response to the witness statement provided by the former archbishop George Carey.

From Section 24: "We do not live in a society where all the people share uniform religious beliefs. The precepts of any one religion — any belief system — cannot, by force of their religious origins, sound any louder in the general law than the precepts of any other. If they did, those out in the cold would be less than citizens, and our constitution would be on the way to a theocracy, which is of necessity autocratic."

Predictably the usual suspects such as former Bishop Nazir Ali are maintaining that this is all against our "Judaeo-Christian" heritage or even unconstitutional.

However there are also cases occurring where the law seems to be coming down too heavily against free speech. For instance a man in Cumbria arrested for "using abusive or insulting language, contrary to the Public Order Act", while preaching to people from the top of a ladder. This is the other side of the coin from the Harry Taylor case reported here a few days ago. Surely we ought to be able to put up with this sort of public argument.

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