When is religion indistinguishable from politics? When is politics indistinguishable from religion? An article in the Daily Mail describes an environmentalist who believes that his Green Views are indistinguishable from traditional religious beliefs. Tim Nicholson argued that his dismissal from a government position was tantamount to religious persecution.
If he wins he could be entitled to an unlimited compensation payout.
Mr Nicholson was dismissed from his job as head of sustainability at Grainger, the UK’s biggest residential landlord, which manages 27,000 properties worth £3billion.
He claims he was unfairly made redundant in July 2008, after two years’ service, for criticising senior management … His criticisms included accusations that executives failed to live up to their own green policies to cut emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, including driving ‘the most polluting cars on the road’.
The Equality and Employment (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 were brought in to stop employees being sacked on the grounds of their religion.
But after lobbying by secular groups, philosophical beliefs were also included. To qualify for protection, a philosophical belief must be ‘genuinely held’, be about a ‘weighty and substantial aspect of human life’, and have ‘seriousness, cohesion and importance and be ‘worthy of respect in a democratic society’. …
However, Andrea Williams, of the Christian Legal Centre, condemned the ruling. … ‘Christians are being discriminated against for holding orthodox views that have been protected in law over many centuries … in Britain. We have 45 cases where Christians have found themselves discriminated against.’
These include several highprofile cases involving the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Former registrar Lilian Ladele is challenging the tribunal’s ruling in support of Islington Council’s decision to discipline her for refusing to carry out civil partnerships on the grounds of her Christian beliefs.
What is the difference between a Christian who refuses to carry out an abortion on the basis of a religious belief and an environmentalist who refuses to follow management on the basis of his adherence to Gaia? What is the difference between either of these and a Muslim who believes his fundamental duty is to the Ummah and not the United States of America? And can a multicultural country so constituted survive? Or will it dissolve into Balkanized enclaves? The Christian Science Monitor argues that blasphemy laws now being pushed by the United Nations will effectively shut down free speech. There may come a time when you can’t even raise this subject for discussion.
the Organization of the Islamic Council. Under the leadership of Pakistan, the 57-nation OIC wants to give the religious antidefamation idea legal teeth by making it part of an international convention, or legally binding treaty. Members of the UN Human Rights Council are passionately debating that idea in Geneva this week.
The United States under Barack Obama recently joined the UNHRC, maligned for years as the mouthpiece for countries that are themselves flagrant human rights abusers. A “new” council formed in 2006. President Obama’s hope is that as an engaged member, the US can further reform – and its own interests. This case will test his theory.
Lincoln believed that a country could not remain simultaneously divided and united. The presupposition was that there was an overarching and shared set of values to which everyone owed a primary duty.
If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.
Can there be such a thing as treason in a multicultural society or is that so yesterday? If so, Lincoln was wrong: a house divided against itself can stand. In a heap about an inch high perhaps, but maybe that’s cool. And cool in the end may best describe a house with no walls. Maybe Cole Porter got it right after all. Anything goes.