Sunday, September 02, 2012

Joshua Rozenberg was the BBC's legal correspondent for 15 years and, according to his website, is Britain's best-known commentator on the law. He has recently written an article for the Law Society Gazette, basically stating his opinion that religious beliefs should be respected as long as people's rights are not taken away. His views have gone down very well with organisations such as the Christian Institute.

Four cases involving British applicants are due to be heard at the European Court of Human Rights in two days' time on Tuesday, 4th September.

In his piece for the Law Society Gazette, Mr Rozenberg fails to explain what makes a religious belief more worthy of respect than any other type of belief.

Some people have religious objections to inter-faith or interracial marriage - there are Biblical precedents for having such objections, which were once common in some American states

Would Mr Rozenberg support a marriage registrar who refused to officiate at the marriage between, say, a white man and a black woman? Would Joshua suggest that there's no problem because there's another council employee who would be willing to conduct the wedding ceremony?

Mr Rozenberg says "Everyone should respect the rights of same-sex couples to register civil partnerships in accordance with the law. But we should also respect the rights of those with religious convictions, so long as those beliefs do not conflict with the rights of others. Surely a fair and balanced approach to both rights is not too much to ask?"

Fifty years ago it would not be unknown for people in Britain with rooms to let to put notices in their windows: "No Blacks" or "No Irish" etc. Isn't Joshua Rozenberg's position tantamount to excusing those signs? After all surely there were other landlords prepared to rent rooms to the minority groups.

Or perhaps Britain's best-known commentator on the law only backs up "religious convictions" when they're just a euphemism for anti-gay bigotry?

Also see the Daily Mail (July 2008): 'Christian registrar who refused to marry gay couples reveals bullying ordeal at hands of politically correct colleagues'

And this .... 'What next... Firemen choosing who to save?'

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