Sunday, July 13, 2008

Foul Bigot Wins Her Case

Most readers will know that I bow to no one in my pursuit of workers' rights; I'm a trades unionist through and through and proudly belong to RMT which is a pretty militant organisation, but which also tends to do quite well in winning cases and better working conditions for its members.

Because of this lifelong left leaning desire to see any employee beat the hell out of their bosses in a vast majority of cases, I find myself in quite a quandary when a worker wins the right to be an openly bigoted, discriminatory homophobe within the workplace. We trades unionists have fought for years to gain equal rights for everyone: black, white; gay, straight; disabled, able-bodied. We've fought for decades to have the rights of the few upheld in law so that employers are obliged to offer equal opportunities to all.

Then along comes a woman (a black woman, who has doubtless suffered discrimination herself at some point in her life) who revels in her bigotry and hides behind the idea that it's because she believes in a god. Apparently she has the right to ignore the law of the land because she believes a fairy story.

Her name is Lillian Ladelle and she's doubtless kneeling in devout communion with her imaginary friend as I write this rant. Bloody hell, I'm angry about this one.

Let's take a look at what Ms Ladelle does for a living.She's a registrar. Part of her duties will be to marry people in civil ceremonies. I would have thought that as a devoted Christian she might object on her spurious religious grounds to conducting ceremonies for divorced people (who will normally have been refused a church marriage as it would be un-Christian). If marriage is a "holy union, sanctioned by God" (as Ms Ladelle would insist) then it can surely only take place in church or other "holy" place. Yet this woman merrily conducts civil ceremonies for one and all.

Unless the couple happen to be of the same gender. This is simple bigotry - unashamed discriminatory practice, because she doesn't like the idea of same gender sex. Sorry, lovey - it happens and it's part of your job to uphold the law; part of what you're paid for is to conduct civil partnership ceremonies.

I heard on the radio a day or so back a perfect example, which I paraphrase: if I worked in Tesco on the check out, but was a vegan who disagreed with the meat trade, could I go to a tribunal so that I could be excused checking out customers with meat or dairy products in their trolley? Answer: no. Because it's only a belief; it's not "god". Hey, guys, "god" is just a belief.

Registrars are required to do as the law says and the law (thank goodness) was changed recently to allow gay couples the same rights as heterosexual ones including a legally sanctioned form of marriage: the "civil partnership". Ms Ladelle thinks her strange and antiquated beliefs allow her to not do this part of her job.

Let's look at some other biblical rules that she should perhaps be upholding as well:

According to the "holy" book "anyone who works on the sabbath must be put to death (Exodus 31:15). That's every priest and vicar in the land, then; plus a vast majority of railway workers, call centre staff....need I go on?

In Leviticus (20:11) the good lord orders that any man who "...commits adultery...both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death". Seems a bit harsh to me; after all many of the people whom Lillian Ladelle marries in civil ceremonies will be adulterers from their previous marriage(s); that's why they're at the registry office and not in their local place of worship.

See any hypocrisy from Ms Ladelle at all? Her battle has been very little to do with an actual biblical or Christian belief, it has had everything to do with abject bigotry, ignorance and her own filthy mind.

I sincerely hope that her employer will appeal; I sincerely hope she resigns and finds employment somewhere more befitting her medieval and ridiculous belief system. I'm sure she'll find a welcome in Iran where being gay is punishable by death; oops, perhaps not - she's a woman, so she'd be discriminated against there in the name of religion, wouldn't she?

Before anyone gets on their high horse and says "he wouldn't dare say that sort of thing about Muslims..". yes I would. Christianity is not the problem, Islam is not the problem, Judaism is not the problem. Nor are any of the world's other religions. Religion itself is the problem. It should have no place in a (thankfully) secular society and religious belief is not and will never be an excuse for bigotry and causing wilful hurt to others. Islam is as wrong and ridiculous as any other religion in my book.

If you've got religious beliefs, well good for you. Enjoy them. Do your worshipping thing in peace. The place for religion is in the home and in church (temple, synagogue, whatever). But it has NO place whatever in government, in education, in any part of the legal process, nor in the workplace. If the job is against your beliefs, be a conscientious objector and do a different job; it's not rocket science. I don't believe in armed conflict, consequently a career in the army is a bit out of the question. Unless we take Ms Ladelle's claim to its logical extreme, when a pacifist such as me will have the right to join the army, but will be allowed to refuse to carry weapons and will be allowed to never go to a war zone or to do anything to assist a war because it's against our beliefs.

If you've got this far through my incandescent rant - thank you for your patience. There isn't a funny pay off, but if you find yourself in general agreement, you might like to visit this website which has some extremely well thought out video rants by Pat Condell. If you find yourself mortally offended, well that's just the way it is.

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