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Christians, Muslims, Jews to Rally Against Gay Rights Law

A law already in force in Northern Ireland and set to come into effect in England and Wales has certain religious groups up in arms because they say it will force them to act against their religious beliefs. They're planning a torchlit rally to oppose the law this evening in London: "The legislation, known as the Sexual Orientation Regulations, would ban discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services on the basis of sexuality in a similar way to the rules on gender and race discrimination. It would mean that hotels could be prosecuted for refusing to provide rooms for gay couples, and parishes obliged to rent out halls for civil partnership receptions. In a twist to the new rules, gay bars would not be able to ban straight couples.

ParliamentBarrister Thomas Cordrey, of the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, told the BBC: "Christians have no desire to discriminate unjustly on the grounds of sexual orientation, but they cannot and must not be forced to actively condone and promote sexual practices which the Bible teaches are wrong. It is a fundamental matter of freedom of conscience."

Peter Tatchell of the gay rights group Outrage, says that just isn't the case: "People are still free to hold their beliefs, to live their lives according to their own morality and... their own religious beliefs. The law proposed does not change that one iota. All it does is extend to lesbian and gay people the same protection against discrimination as is already existing to protect women, black people and Christians, Jews, Muslims and other people of faith."

In an editorial in the Guardian, Polly Toynbee calls it "a mighty test of strength between the religious and the secular" and notes that Christians have taken out ads in the Daily Mail that spread outright lies about what the law does in order to support their bigotry:

"They claim the law will 'force all schools to actively promote homosexual civil partnerships to children (from primary-school age) to the same degree that they teach the importance of marriage'. No it won't: the curriculum does not 'actively promote' homosexuality, nor even make sex education compulsory. They claim the law will 'force a printing shop run by a Christian to print fliers promoting gay sex'. No it won't, unless the same printers promote heterosexual porn too. Or how about this one? 'Force a family-run B&B to let out a double room to a transsexual couple, even if the family think it in the best interests of their children to refuse to allow such a situation in their home.' Oh no it won't: it doesn't even cover transsexuals - and what a daft scenario anyway. The National Secular Society has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority. But on and on go the prurient situations the religious homophobes dream up. The Christian Concern for Our Nation, petitioning the Queen, claims they 'love their neighbours', but "Christians, of course, earnestly desire the repentance and salvation of homosexuals"."

Sad to see that the only thing religions can ever seem to agree on is hating gays. The rally is to happen this evening at Parliament.

Faith Rally Over Gay Rights Law [bbc]
Homophobia, not injustice, is what really fires the faiths [guardian]

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Comments

  1. The Triple Threat of Hate! Go Christians, Muslims and Jews! Woo hoo! Don't you have something better to be doing? Like blowing each other up?

    Posted by: Patrick | Jan 9, 2007 9:47:41 AM


  2. Why is it still okay to treat us as if we do not matter? How in the name of God, literally, can these people really believe they are doing what God wants?

    I hope the religious nuts don't win this one. After all the good news from abroad treating gays better, this would be a huge set back.

    They need education and to stop fearing us.

    It's honestly making me so biased and so close to hating all religions.

    Posted by: Bobby | Jan 9, 2007 9:48:06 AM


  3. Agree with you completely, Bobby. Tolerance only seems to be expected of us, and mine is running pretty thin.

    Whenever reactionary groups kick up about how gay rights are a direct threat to their bigotry, I try to remind myself that I have Muslim, Christian and Jewish friends, none of whom are in the slightest bit threatened or disturbed by my sexuality. They are the proper representatives of their religions.

    It's a damn shame that they can't unite in making the world a better place. Oh, I'm getting angry now, so I'd better go.

    Posted by: Ren B. | Jan 9, 2007 10:16:32 AM


  4. A large group representing our three worst enemies all together in front of Parliament???? YUM YUM! Pardon me while I imagine a repeat of the climatic scene from "V for Vendetta" and rephrasing it's slogan: "People shouldn't be afraid of Religion. Religion should be afraid of the people." We now turn to the gay pussies who will piss and moan about protecting Hate Speech and Hate Lies no matter how much violence to our liberties and lives they generate.

    Posted by: Leland | Jan 9, 2007 10:47:30 AM


  5. "its slogan" of course :-(

    Posted by: Leland | Jan 9, 2007 10:51:41 AM


  6. I think a real uprising would be incredible. Imagine if we all just stopped and boycotted everything. I'm not going for the florist jokes, but if we said, that's it. We're not fucking taking it anymore.

    Why can't we organize? Why can't we let them know we won't be treated like trash any longer?

    Posted by: Bobby | Jan 9, 2007 10:56:35 AM


  7. According to the article the Jews are not taking part in the protest. Why the Jew bashing, Andy?

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 9, 2007 10:57:47 AM


  8. It's a little much to call it "jew bashing".

    These groups are using underhanded tactics but we should generally support freedom of association. If hate is the problem, as everyone here says, then this will not solve the issue. We want to win the war, not just every political battle. Here in the US we fight these battles all the time (think boy scouts and catholic hospitals). It generally comes down to money: if you accept govt. money you can't discriminate against politically protected minorities, but you can still discriminate against unprotected ones. Give up the money or the discrimination. It's a type of greenmail.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 9, 2007 11:26:51 AM


  9. Mike: I agree, the British Jews have not signed on to the hate. Take a look at the BBC website for the latest. While you're at the BBC look at the lovely Mr. Hargreave...a guy that makes me inclined to follow footie: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/6234121.stm

    Posted by: JT | Jan 9, 2007 11:30:33 AM


  10. REN B., I don't think that Jews or Christians ( I'm not going to talk about Islam, because I don't know enough about it) who don't have a problem with homosexuality are the proper representatives of their religions. Both the Old and the New Testaments strongly condemn homosexuality. Yes, it's true that Jesus says nothing about it, but I don't know any Christian that would renounce the rest of the Bible and only consider the four gospels to be the word of God. People who say they believe in the Bible while at the same time condoning homosexuality just want to have the cake and eat it too. They want to be seen as good Christians or Jews and as rational, openminded beings at the same time. I think such people are hypocrits and I try to avoid them in life. Oh, and bigotry is the integral part of most religions.

    Posted by: borut | Jan 9, 2007 11:50:13 AM


  11. Borut - I take your point. It's true that religions have bigotry written into their very belief system. But larger than that (or so they'd have us believe) is that their religions teach them love. Now, obviously we know that's not true - there's virtually no evidence writ large that Christians, Muslims or Jews love mankind. Their most powerful representatives, and a fair proportion of their followers, are doing a lot to wipe each other off the face of the earth.

    But writ small, and I think the evidence is there. My friends love me not in spite of their religions but because of their religion. When something is so deep-rooted in the way someone computes something, there can be no other way. My Muslim friends don't make the disclaimer 'I should be judging you, but you're my friend, which means I can overlook your appalling sin.' My Muslim friends love me because they are the perfect example of what a good Muslim should be. They love via their faith.

    It's a shame those hateful idiots planning their vigil tonight haven't learned similarly.

    I'm an atheist and a humanist, and I become increasingly disdainful of what religion does. I know that you don't need a religion to be compassionate and loving (although it's almost essential to hate and discriminate, it would seem). But I can't deny that the people I am closest to and who have a religion are good people, and who love me. That's why I think they are true ambassadors of their faith. Because, on the packaging at least, that is what religion is supposed to be about.

    Posted by: Ren B. | Jan 9, 2007 12:14:20 PM


  12. A torch lit rally? Are they serious?

    Do these people not even see the irony?

    When has the sight of a mob of torch wielding villagers ever made a positive statement?

    Quasimodo? Nope. Frankenstein’s monster? Uh, uh. Nazi Germany? Don’t think so.

    The make up of the mob and the century changes, but the ignorance and hate never dies.

    It amazes me how many people can read and cry over stories, fictional and non-fictional, where the moral is so clear but somehow they either miss the message entirely or are simply unable to apply the lesson to everyday life.

    And why does it seem that religion (the bastardization of spirituality) is ALWAYS at the core of this ignorance and hate?

    This is why “religion” is always a threat to an egalitarian community and the mixture of religion and government is so dangerous to modern society.

    The founding fathers of America understood this 230 years ago but somehow no one seems to get it today. Americans have been going backwards on this issue for over 25 years now. Now we’re starting to export our ignorance and religious based hate to Canada and Europe.

    And my last question: having seen what a disaster the fundamentalist Christian influence has wrought on this country, why on earth would the British people allow this small minority of zealots (funded and promoted by American fundamentalists) to take their country hostage?

    You guys in Britain (and Canada), gay AND straight, better wake up and take this threat VERY seriously. The time to act is NOW! You may think that what’s theocratic takeover that has happened in America could never happen in your secular and tolerant countries, but guess what, we thought the same thing in America 25 YEARS AGO!

    Posted by: Zeke | Jan 9, 2007 12:20:09 PM


  13. All I can say is, can't hold us down..

    All attempts to resist the queer take over are futile at this point. I'm working equally hard as those hate groups to reclaim our place in society - except I'm much smarter!

    Posted by: Da | Jan 9, 2007 12:52:47 PM


  14. Such public displays of stupidity and bigotry will have exactly the opposite effect than intended. Once again, the antidote to ignorant and hateful speech is more speech. They are even doing us a favor by staging this event by torchlit parade. Are they also going to wear jack boots and brown shirts? This will give personal faces to the oppressors, no hiding behind white sheets and cone hats. Rational people will immediately appreciate the disconecct between their actions/goals and their propaganda of dressing up hate in the guise of religion. The Bible also prohibits, et al., Levite priests from cutting their hair, eating shellfish, and touching porkskin but these prohibitions are always left out of their anti-homosexual animus. These people are the modern-day defenders of slavery and will be soon seen as such. Encourage them to publically display their prejudices. They do more for the advancement of gay civil rights than do most nominally pro-gay organizations.

    Posted by: rudy | Jan 9, 2007 2:05:03 PM


  15. REN B., as far as I know Islam teaches that punishing a sinner, even by death, is actually for his or her own good and thus an act of love. People who purport to love via their faith sometimes forget how their religion defines love.

    Posted by: borut | Jan 9, 2007 2:08:16 PM


  16. I'm happy to say that the challenge to the ruling has failed by 3-1.

    Borut - again, I know exactly what you mean, but I can only speak based on what I have learnt first hand - and I've never been pitied, or punished, by a friend who is religious. I would simply suggest that some people at least have learned there is a way to have a strong faith and to accept that people are gay. That doesn't make them hypocrites. No one would have a problem with religion if more people managed it, so I don't see what good comes from criticising them for it.

    Posted by: Ren B. | Jan 9, 2007 5:34:04 PM


  17. REN B., I really think that if you claim the Bible, including the passages that demand capital punishment for homosexual acts, are the word of God while at the same time accepting homosexuality as something normal, you are a hypocrite. But I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree about that.

    Posted by: borut | Jan 9, 2007 7:20:08 PM


  18. Hi Borut

    Interpretation of any religious text is open to a certain amount of leeway - it's part of modernising belief.

    I don't know how I came to defend religion, since I hate it in general, but I like a lot of people who are religious. If they're hypocrites, they are hypocrites second and good people first.

    I doubt we're going to agree but it's all part of a healthy debate, so lacking among the bigots that brought us to this page.

    Posted by: Ren B. | Jan 9, 2007 7:58:31 PM


  19. The challenge was defeated by 199 votes to 68.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6243323.stm

    Once again, I'm proud to be British. :)

    Posted by: John C | Jan 9, 2007 10:19:58 PM


  20. REN B., nowadays reinterpretation of scripture looks like this: Religious people accept a view, lets say on homosexuality, that actually stems from secular thought. Then they bend over backwards reinterpreting the sacred writings until they can say that they actually support their view. That's not turning to scripture for guidance, it's manipulating it so it fits your needs. In the case of homosexuality it really takes a lot of acrobatics to come to the conclusion that, say, the Bible views it favourably. And I think those who believe in the Bible should interpret its messages just the way people understood them when they were supposedly given to them by God. Otherwise they are actually stating that God gave those words to his people and then let them misunderstand them and kill innocent people in his name for millennia, and that would really be absurd.

    I know human beings can be good people first and hypocrites second. I still can't stand them, but that's just me.

    Posted by: borut | Jan 10, 2007 10:50:54 AM


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