What makes Phillips’ claim that much more risible is that one of the main points of contention here is religious teachings on homosexuality. Generally speaking, it is a dangerous slippery slope we’re on if the government wishes to treat a religion’s disapproval of any act, inside the bedroom or elsewhere, as hate speech. The equality commission certainly seems to be flirting with that concept.
Phillips talks out of both sides of his mouth below, speaking in favor of religions’ independence on matters of conscience, all while he is using his government position to bully religions over what has become a state-determined “heresy.” In the current climate, such behavior plays directly into the hands of Islamic supremacists, who benefit from an obvious double standard.
Alongside politically correct dogmas foisted on society in the name of “tolerance,” it is almost like a secular “Sharia” is taking hold attached to the new civil religion of multiculturalism (and like Sharia, you can convert to Islam for better treatment). Marginalizing Christianity in Britain in the name of an Orwellian “equality” while downplaying the problems of Muslim communities will set the stage for the real Sharia to gain an ever greater foothold.
Meanwhile, there is no Christian analogue to the situation in Tower Hamlets, where the persecution of gay people is rampant, and police are already looking the other way for fear of being called Islamophobic as Muslims indulge openly in violent hate speech and call for Sharia’s often creative punishments against homosexuals.
It certainly appears one religion is “more equal than others” at the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
“Christians are more militant than Muslims, says Government’s equalities boss,” by Jonathan Wynne-Jones for the Telegraph, June 18:
Trevor Phillips warned that “an old time religion incompatible with modern society” is driving the revival in the Anglican and Catholic Churches and clashing with mainstream views, especially on homosexuality.
Utterly absent is any comparative discussion of religious teachings on homosexuality, which are reflected by the differences in behavior: Muhammad himself called for the execution of homosexuals. Jesus did not. Paul called homosexual acts sinful, but did not prescribe punishments for Christian communities to carry out.
He accused Christians, particularly evangelicals, of being more militant than Muslims in complaining about discrimination, arguing that many of the claims are motivated by a desire for greater political influence.
However the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission expressed concern that people of faith are “under siege” from atheists whom he accused of attempting to “drive religion underground”.
In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph ahead of a landmark report on religious discrimination in Britain, he said the Commission wants to protect Christians and Muslims from discrimination, admitting his body had not been seen to stand up for the people discriminated against because of their faith in the past.
In a wide-ranging intervention into the debate over the role of religion in modern Britain, Mr Phillips:
– warned it had become “fashionable” to attack and mock religion, singling out atheist polemicist Richard Dawkins for his views;
– said faith groups should be free from interference in their own affairs, meaning churches should be allowed to block women and homosexuals from being priests and bishops;
– attacked hardline Christian groups which he said were picking fights – particularly on the issue of homosexuality – for their own political ends;
– told churches and religious institutions they had to comply with equality legislation when they delivered services to the public as a whole.
It will be interesting to see if the imbalance in coverage reflected above where Islam is concerned is indeed the case in the full report.
The report, published by the Commission tomorrow, says that some religious groups have been the victims of rising discrimination over the last decade.
It shows that in the course of the last decade, the number of employment tribunal cases on religion or belief brought each year has risen from 70 to 1000 – although only a fraction of cases were upheld.
Mr Phillips spoke after a series of high-profile cases which have featured Christians claiming they have been discriminated against because of their beliefs, with a doctor currently fighting a reprimand from the General Medical Council for sharing his faith with a patient.
While the equalities boss promised to fight for the rights of Christians, he expressed concern that many cases were driven by fundamentalist Christians who are holding increasing sway over the mainstream churches because of the influence of African and Caribbean immigrants with “intolerant” views.
Stop right there. What would happen to Phillips if he said anything of the sort there about Muslims? There would be a firestorm. He would be called a racist, a colonialist, and so forth.
In contrast, Muslims are less vociferous because they are trying to integrate into British “liberal democracy”, he said.
“I think there’s an awful lot of noise about the Church being persecuted but there is a more real issue that the conventional churches face that the people who are really driving their revival and success believe in an old time religion which in my view is incompatible with a modern, multi-ethnic, multicultural society,” Phillips said.
“Muslim communities in this country are doing their damnedest to try to come to terms with their neighbours to try to integrate and they’re doing their best to try to develop an idea of Islam that is compatible with living in a modern liberal democracy.
“The most likely victim of actual religious discrimination in British society is a Muslim but the person who is most likely to feel slighted because of their religion is an evangelical Christian.”
Senior clergy, including Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, have attacked equality laws for eroding Christianity and stifling free speech, but Phillips said many of the legal cases brought by Christians on issues surrounding homosexuality were motivated by an attempt to gain political influence.
Pooh-poohing beliefs as petty politics:
“I think for a lot of Christian activists, they want to have a fight and they choose sexual orientation as the ground to fight it on,” he said.
“I think the whole argument isn’t about the rights of Christians. It’s about politics. It’s about a group of people who really want to have weight and influence.”
He added: “There are a lot of Christian activist voices who appear bent on stressing the kind of persecution that I don’t think really exists in this country.”….