Piers Morgan gets an amusing rise out of homophobic presidential candidate Rick Santorum, when he calls his attitudes out for what they are. Santorum then instantaneously suggests that 2K+ moral codes are by definition not bigoted, yet conflates ethics and bigotry. The former involves judging people for what they do, the latter involves judging people for who they are; he claims he’s doing the former whilst wilfully engaging in the latter. It’s entirely consistent to say that the Catholic Church is bigoted for its viewpoint on homosexuality – it self evidently is. Morgan did well to provoke the diatribe which punches a hole very cleanly through his protestations of being able to keep his religious viewpoints outside of his potential job as leader of the free world.
Santorum: “I don’t think the truth changes.”
Oh no? Truth I might remind everyone is determined by evidence, not Bronze Age ignorance and superstition. Apparently his theory of ‘unchanging truths’ is dictated by reason, but of course this is deluded nonsense. A viable president of the United States can’t be going around picking and choosing which social changes he’s prepared to accept and which not. Of course it’s an issue which the Senator confronts directly, but in the most appalling fashion. Earlier on in the clip he says that allowing same-sex marriage would open the floodgates to “a long list of consensual activities that most people would find rather unappealing.” I know the subtext he’s toying with – suggesting it would allow legalisation of bestiality or paedophilia (I’ve had a bewildering argument with another Christian about just this today – also making no rational sense). But of course those acts aren’t consensual. Surely there’s no problem with legalising consensual, harmless adult relationships? No wonder this idiot is getting hammered in the US. Check out his tantrum afterwards, in a school of all places:
It should come as no surprise to those of us who track the HateMail’s bigotry, but check out the guy on the left’s right arm.
This is in response to the story about Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy succeeding in their case against Peter and Hazel Bull, zealous Christian B & B owners who wouldn’t let them share a room on religious grounds.
Join with me here in condemning the HateMail yet again, and continuing to encourage everyone we know who still buys that rag finally to stop.
The zealous Christian owners of the Bed & Breakfast which refused a double room to a gay couple have been found guilty of discrimination:
Devout Christian hotel owners who refused to allow a gay couple to share a double room acted unlawfully, a judge at Bristol county court ruled today.
Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy, who are civil partners, won their landmark claim for discrimination in a case funded and supported by theEquality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
The ruling, one of the first made under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, is likely to provide those in partnerships with greater protection from discrimination.
The owners of the Chymorvah private hotel in Cornwall, Peter and Hazel Bull, do not allow couples who are not married to share double rooms because they do not believe in sex before marriage.
The Bulls asserted that their refusal to accommodate civil partners in a double room was not to do with sexual orientation but “everything to do with sex”. The restriction, the owners said, applied equally to heterosexual couples who are not married.
In his ruling, Judge Andrew Rutherford said the hotel had directly discriminated against the couple on the grounds of their sexual orientation and awarded them compensation of £1,800 each.
A great result. I’ve heard numerous complaints that the Bulls should be allowed to discriminate against anyone they like, but the Sexual Orientation Regulations of course apply because they are providing a service, which may be conducted within their home, but which constrains their freedom to discriminate there. Ben Summerskill of Stonewall points out:
During passage of the 2006 Equality Act, Stonewall fought hard to secure pioneering “goods and services” protections for lesbian and gay people, protecting them for the first time against discrimination in the delivery of public and commercial services. The preceding legal entitlement to deny gay people a service was every bit as offensive as the notorious signs outside guesthouses that once said: “No blacks. No Irish.” And people certainly took advantage of it, as lesbians denied smear tests and gay men refused holiday bookings were well aware.
The Bulls suggest that it’s their freedom, and not that of a gay couple, that is compromised by the existing law. But no part of the current and carefully calibrated compact in Britain’s equality legislation forces anyone to do anything. However, if a couple choose to turn their home into a commercial enterprise, why should they be any more entitled to exempt themselves from equality legislation than from health and safety laws?
Of course they shouldn’t – common sense says they shouldn’t. But the Christian devout keep protesting their right to discriminate as a necessary component of their religion trumps every right gay people have to be protected from discrimination. We’ve had relationship counsellors, civil registrars and others professing their right not to serve gay people in the same manner as they would others, and they’ve all failed. Judge Andrew Rutherford said:
the right of the defendants to manifest their religion is not absolute and “can be limited to protect the rights and freedoms of the claimants”.
No doubt the devout will continue to insist they’re being persecuted, but I would insist that quote proves conclusively otherwise.
A heterosexual couple, Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle, will challenge the ban on straight civil partnerships by filing an application at Islington Register Office in London this Tuesday, 9 November at 10.15am.
They want “heterosexual equality.”
The denial of civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples is, they say, “discriminatory and perpetuates legal inequality.”
Doyle and Freeman expect to be turned down by the registrar but they plan to get the rejection in writing, with view to taking legal advice and appealing the refusal in the courts.
The couple’s bid is part of the new Equal Love campaign, which is seeking to overturn the twin prohibitions on gay marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships.
The Equal Love campaign is organised by the gay rights group OutRage! and coordinated by the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
Mr Tatchell will join Katherine and Tom this Tuesday, 9 November, when they apply for a civil partnership.
Mr Tatchell commented:
“We seek heterosexual equality. In a democratic society, everyone should be equal before the law. There should be no legal discrimination. The twin bans on same-sex civil marriages and on opposite-sex civil partnerships are a form of sexual apartheid. There is one law for straight couples and another law for gay partners. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
“Denying heterosexual couples the right to have a civil partnership is heterophobic. It is discriminatory and offensive. I want to see it ended, so that straight couples like Tom and Katherine can have the option of a civil partnership. I applaud their challenge to this unjust legislation,” he said.
Tom Freeman (26, administrator) said:
“We want to secure official status for our relationship in a way that supports the call for complete equality and is free of the negative, sexist connotations of marriage.
“We’d prefer a civil partnership. But if we cannot have one, we won’t get married.
“On a point of principle, we’ll remain unmarried until opposite-sex couples can have a civil partnership and same-sex couples can have a civil marriage.
“We are taking this stand against discrimination and in support of legal equality for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.
“The ‘separate but equal’ system which segregates couples according to their sexuality is not equal at all. All loving couples should have access to the same institutions, regardless of sexuality. There should be parity of access,” he said.
Outlining why she joined the Equal Love and campaign and why she is seeking to reverse the ban on heterosexual civil partnerships, Katherine Doyle (26, postgraduate student) added:
“We have been together for four and a half years and would like to formalise our relationship. Because we feel alienated from the patriarchal traditions of marriage, we would prefer to have a civil partnership. As a mixed-sex couple, we are banned by law from doing so. By filing an application for civil partnership, we are seeking to challenge this discriminatory law.
“Our decision is also motivated by the fact that we object to the way same-sex couples are prohibited from getting married. If we got married we would be colluding with the segregation that exists in relationship law between gay civil partnerships and straight civil
marriages. We don’t want to take advantage of civil marriage when it is an option that is denied to our lesbian and gay friends,” she said.
The drawn-out battle over gay and lesbian marriage in California has been extended for another week after a federal judge kept same-sex unions on hold to give opponents the chance to appeal to a higher court.
Dozens of gay couples who had spent hours standing outside City Hall in San Francisco hoping to see an immediate resumption of marriages had their hopes dashed, at least until 5pm on 18 August when Judge Vaughn Walker has ordered the ban on the ceremonies to be lifted.
Liberty Counsel however resolutely opposed Judge Walker’s refusal to stay his ruling:
Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “It is outrageous that Judge Walker refused to stay his ruling. This is a classic example of radical individualism and judicial activism. Judge Walker obviously has not learned the lesson of 2008, when the California Supreme Court refused to stay its decision on marriage. That decision was reversed in short order, but it caused a huge disruption. Staying the effect of Judge Walker’s ruling pending the appeal is the only logical thing to do in this case. This case has a high probability of being overturned on appeal. It makes no sense for one person to set aside a state constitutional amendment, radically change the longstanding status quo, and then later be reversed. The disruption will be enormous if this decision is not stayed. In the end, the commonsense and constitutional definition of marriage as one man and one woman will be upheld.”
It’s shocking that an educator in the law should talk with such brazen, discriminatory language, but there you are. And they’re not alone:
“Voters in 30 states have protected marriage in their state constitutions because they understand the importance of a mom and a dad to children. The social science data is overwhelming and clear – children do best when raised by a mom and dad. Judge Walker’s opinion completely stepped over these findings by the international research community.”
The Family Research Council has a thing against homosexuality. They have a habit of distorting statistics, lying and blaming gay people for the homophobia they face, but of course they are as adept as all Christianist extremists in doing what we’re all doing on the ‘net – presenting our own truths. We are truly in a postmodern era, where we’re almost destined to suffer an innumerable number of competing ‘truths’ – the Internet is the biggest bully pulpit after all, and the zealous have learned how to take steadfast positions in debates over issues such as homosexuality by playing our game – using facts. It means little to them that they make them up – how many people duped by their ‘facts’ would be likely to do the necessary research to debunk them? But let me address just one here.
It is indeed important to have a mother and a father, but the evidence from children’s own experiences has overwhelmingly shown that children do best when raised by good parents. The gender balance doesn’t determine outcomes for children – that’s far more down to all sorts of other variables like social class. You’ll find the FRC’s ‘international research community’ will be overwhelmingly religiously extreme and homophobic – no big shocker that they should suggest homosexuality is detrimental to good parenting, but of course they also ignore the fact that people don’t get married just to have children. It’s quite amusing for them to want now to uphold Prop 8 to ‘protect children’ when numerous gay marriages will never end up with any, but these people are unable to think for themselves.
It’s a good thing that licences are back being issued to same-sex relationships in California. It’s a better thing that marriages will resume on Wednesday. I hope very much, on the very non-discrimination grounds which Prop 8 was struck back down with, that things stay that way in that overwhelmingly important constituency. Religious zealots need to learn once and for all that just because they have ‘sacred texts’, whether they interpret them properly or not, they don’t have the right to discriminate against people different to them. In the 21st century we’re governed by Enlightenment principles and civil law – the rights of individuals trump ‘God”s law every single bloody time.
I am a gay man, and am married to another man. If you’re a heterosexual Christianist that doesn’t affect you or your marriage in any way whatsoever. Get over it.
The House of Lords has voted to allow civil partnerships on religious premises:
The amendment to the Equality Bill, which was tabled as a free vote by gay Muslim peer Waheed Alli, received overwhelming backing in the Lords, including from a number of prominent Anglican bishops.
Under current UK law religious venues are forbidden from holding civil partnerships, although some liberal denominations within Christianity and Judaism have been willing to bless gay unions once a partnership ceremony has taken place elsewhere.
The lifting of the ban, which still needs to be approved by the House of Commons, will now give religious venues the option of conducting civil partnerships – but it will not compel them to do so, as some traditionalists had feared.
Lord Alli denied the suggestion that religious communities would be forced to accept gay marriages.
“Religious freedom cannot begin and end with what one religion wants,” he said. “This amendment does not place an obligation on any religious organisation to host civil partnerships in their buildings. But there are many gay and lesbian couples who want to share their civil partnership with the congregations that they worship with. And there are a number of religious organisations that want to allow gay and lesbian couples to do exactly that.”
No doubt the religious fundamentalist set will denounce this as an anti-religious move, but as Alli points out this, if approved by the Commons (and how appalling would it be if the Commons struck this down?), would allow civil partnerships on religious premises, not demand them. It’s amazing how often the devoutly religious wilfully mix the the two up, but the distinction is pretty important because it’s about religious freedom for all. As Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill says:
‘We’ve argued throughout that this is an important matter of religious freedom. Ministers have known for some months that we intended to table this measure and we regret that the Government didn’t stand up to the bullying it faced from some churches on this issue. We’ll now work closely with ministers to ensure that we secure implementation of this further step towards equality. This vote is hugely important to those gay people of faith (and, as Lady Neuberger pointed out, to their Jewish mothers too!) who wish to celebrate their civil partnerships in their own place of worship.’
It should have been unthinkable to have had a ban in the first place. Why any religion should have the freedom to discriminate based purely on the grounds of the bigoted beliefs of some, is beyond me. But this government has kowtowed incessantly towards the religious lobby, and in the run-up to the general election will no doubt continue to do so. Remember civil partnerships are still only for gay people, and marriage is only for straight people. In a European Union where even Catholic Spain has marriage equality I fail to comprehend why Britain’s inequality is allowed to continue.
The Lib Dem leader puts David Cameron on the back foot on gay rights as it looks increasingly as though cultural divisions will define this year’s general election. Nick Clegg acknowledged how far Labour equalised the legal playing field, with the equalisation of the age of consent, the removal of Section 28, the removal of the armed forces ban an the introduction of civil partnerships, but in interview with Johann Hari offered to go much further, to:
- Force all schools – including faith schools – to implement anti-homophobia bullying policies and teach that homosexuality is “normal and harmless”.
- Change the law to allow gay men and women the same marital rights as straight couples, including the symbolic right to use the word “marriage” rather than civil partnerships.
- Reverse the ban on gay men being allowed to give blood.
- Guarantee any refugees genuinely fleeing a country because of persecution over their sexual orientation asylum in the UK.
- Review Uganda’s membership of the Commonwealth if its government was to bring in the death penalty for practicing gays.
It’s an impressive support of full equality, the likes of which David Cameron and even Gordon Brown would be hard pressed to match. Most interesting I find is his offer to force all schools, particularly faith schools to operate positively against homophobia. It’ll infuriate widely in the religious community, yet Clegg is entirely right when he points out the real battleground in changing attitudes is in schools. It’s where Brown hasn’t risked treading, it’s where Cameron won’t consider treading, and it’s extremely admirable that Clegg should risk losing considerable number of religious votes on this issue. Acting on principle rather than for electoral advantage will put serious weight behind his pledge to want to move past the first-past-the-post strategy of having to court swing voters in marginal seats. The Church of England has already responded:
speaking to The Independent last night, one senior Anglican bishop (who asked not to be named) said: “I think this will go down badly even among the not overtly evangelical. Instituting something that must be taught, come what may, is frighteningly fascist.”
The Rev Janina Ainsworth, chief education officer for the Church of England, said she saw no reason why the current laws governing sex education in schools should change. “The Church’s traditional teaching is that sex should be set within the framework of a faithful marriage, and sex education in church schools will be delivered within that context,” she said. “At the appropriate stage within the sex education curriculum, all students, in all schools, should have the opportunity to examine the full range of views on different aspects of sex and sexuality, and to develop their own considered position. Further upheaval of the guidance for sex education would not be welcomed by many schools, church or otherwise.”
It’s interesting to think that preventing organised religion from permitting homophobia to be condoned in any aspect of children’s education should be somehow ‘fascist’, but arguments such as this may be the shape of things to come. If Clegg persists in his line of constitutional reform and putting his money where his mouth is on matters of equality, we’ll have some genuinely non-technocratic dividing lines opening up in this general election. His interviewer Johann Hari explains why it’s necessary:
41 per cent of gay children get beaten up in school, and they are six times more likely to commit suicide than their straight siblings. He says every school must teach that homosexuality is “normal and harmless and something that happens”. There can be no religious excuses. He wants to see this tightly policed: “We need to put serious pressure on them. It needs to be a requirement.”
And then goes further, identifying institutional homophobia as equally unacceptable as institutional racism:
In the same way, he says the Government needs to drive homophobia out of the police, where a 2005 Home Office study found it to be “endemic”. He compared several recent cases – where gay people were murdered and the investigations appeared to go badly wrong – to the Stephen Lawrence tragedy, and said there needs to be a change of culture “on patrol, on the beat, in the changing room, in the officers’ mess, in the staffroom”.
This is genuinely brave, because Clegg is taking the fight to the last remaining bastions of bigotry. He will get a nasty kick from religious fundamentalists who say that gay couples should never be allowed to marry, and who claim they have a “right” to teach homophobia to children in a way that produces such disproportionate rates of violent bullying and suicide. The right-wing press will savage it as an attack on “freedom” – when, in fact, it is a defence of the freedom of gay people to live their lives free of irrational hate.
It’s a clear dare to David Cameron, and in my mind to gay Tories. If Cameron refuses to accept that everything possible must be done to stop bullying of gay children in schools, and that homophobia should be treated in the same way as racism, will it be morally acceptable for gay people to vote Tory, or even Labour for that matter? Labour has equalised the legal playing field in most respects for gay equality but has barely touched the thornier issue of changing attitudes; the Lib Dems are first out of the gate in offering the next step. Will the ‘big two’ respond cynically and turn the whole election into one surrounding identity politics? I hope not – we’ll have to wait and see. It’s true that gay voters can’t only look at policies relating to their sexual orientation any more than voters who are religious should respond only to parties which offer policies relating to that aspect of their identities. Many gay voters will have never experienced the kind of overt homophobia which used to be omnipresent in society, and will understandably (but sadly) not see the need to vote for Clegg. I would argue however that Labour’s implicit claim to have brought about gay equality has been illusory – on paper it’s highly impressive but the deaths of Ian Baynham, Michael Causer and many others prove how murderous homophobia remains only a footstep away from all of us.
Portugal’s parliament has passed a law to legalise same-sex marriage, but rejected proposals to allow homosexual couples to adopt.
The bill was approved with the support of the governing Socialist Party and other parties further to the left.
Prime Minister Jose Socrates opened the debate with an appeal to back the law, saying it would put right an injustice that had caused unnecessary pain.
The law has been fiercely opposed by conservatives in the Catholic country.
So if Catholic Spain and Portugal both have full gay marriage, why not Britain?
Ultra religious Christian zealot Lillian Ladele has failed once again in her continuing quest to appeal against her sacking for discriminating against gay people:
An Islington registrar who refused to carry out civil partnerships for gay couples has lost her appeal.
The Court of Appeal ruled today that Lillian Ladele had not been discriminated against. She had said she could not hold the ceremonies because of her Christian beliefs.
Lord Neuberger expressed some sympathy for her position but said that in a “modern liberal democracy”, only “very limited exceptions” could be made.
The Christian Institute, which is supporting Ladele, has said it will appeal to the Supreme Court.
The ruling was welcomed by Stonewall.
Director of public affairs Derek Munn said: “Stonewall are pleased that the Court of Appeal has upheld the right of lesbian and gay people to receive public services from public servants. We are glad that Islington council have seen this through for the sake of their lesbian and gay council tax payers.
“You can’t refuse a service to a person based on their gender, race or disability and you can’t on the basis of their sexual orientation either.”
You may remember civil registrar Ladele was fired by Islington Council for refusing to perform civil partnerships, and then took them to a tribunal, alleging religious discrimination. It’s becoming a reassuringly familiar refrain that appeals tribunals and courts, despite the appalling way in which gay and religious rights have been set against one another by this government, have brooked none of this from her or her ultra religious friends. The Christian Legal Centre however thinks otherwise:
“Civil partnerships were not being discriminated against, they were able to be performed by other registrars. Lilian Ladele has been discriminated against because of her Christian convictions.
“In a tolerant and civil society, we should be able to accommodate different groups.
“There will be serious consequences for religious freedom, conscience, acts and speech if we can’t learn to accommodate different groups.”
Except that wasn’t the issue – it was about Ladele refusing both to abide by her employer’s equal opportunities policy and then refusing different work, when offered, for the same pay. She felt that her religion afforded her what would have been essentially special rights – the right to discriminate in her employment on the grounds of belief. Now noone has suggested that she or any other theist should believe anything other than what they want, but their actions in civil society are governed by civil, not religious law. And despite the flaws in our equality legislation under civil law, she’s not allowed to act in a way that is detrimental to gay people. Accommodating the right to discriminate on the grounds of belief would not be the hallmark of a tolerant and civil society, and it’s something Symon Hill acknowledges:
Christians can welcome the court’s decision. We can emphasise that it is not an affront to Christian values – it is a victory for Christian values. Using traditional Christian terminology, we can point that it is not homosexuality, but homophobia, that is sinful. Those of who have gone along with homophobia in the past can declare our repentance of it.
In Jesus Christ, we have a messiah whose life embodied a message of radical inclusivity, a man who challenged religious hypocrisy and the abuse of power, who socialised with outcasts, broke religious and secular laws and forgave his persecutors as they killed him.
The New Testament’s ethical message is that “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). It’s time for pro-equality Christians to make clear that our commitment to equality is not in tension with Christianity, or incidental to it, but flows naturally from it. Occasionally, I hear someone say “Symon’s against homophobia, even though he’s a Christian”. That’s just not true. I’m against homophobia because I’m a Christian.
Hill acknowledges the absurdity of Ladele’s position – her objection isn’t to anything she finds abhorrent to her zealous beliefs, just the gay bits. It’s an intellectually vapid take on religion, and fortunately one which neither the legislature nor the judiciary have any interest in enshrining into law.
Heterosexual couple Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle have given notice of their intention to form a civil partnership, in protest against the discriminatory split between marriage and civil partnerships:
Under UK law, same-sex couples are banned from civil marriage and heterosexual couples are banned from civil partnerships (called civil unions in the US).f
Freeman said:”We think the ‘separate but equal’ system which segregates couples according to their sexuality is not equal at all. All loving couples should have access to the same institutions, regardless of sexuality. There should be parity of respect and rights”.
Doyle added: “Just as gay couples should be able to have a civil marriage, civil partnerships should be available to straight couples who don’t like the institution of marriage.”
It’s an unlikely protest, but one which pricelessly shows the discrimination at the heart of civil partnerships. Whilst they were a step in the right direction almost half a decade ago, it really is time the inequality of marriage was properly highlighted and addressed in the UK. When western European nations are forging ahead and making marriage universally available, the UK is still *ahem* wedded to a conservative model of marriage, which as this story shows doesn’t even suit all heterosexual people anymore. And as the couple goes on to say:
Freeman said: “Ideally we’d have the option of a civil partnership or a marriage, regardless of whether we were straight or gay. Effectively marriage and civil partnerships are exactly the same – it’s a duplicate law. The effects and legal processes are identical. The rights and obligations are identical. Civil partnerships are equality in all but name – so why not just have equality?
“The answer is there are conservative people who feel offended by having gay people in their precious institution. It’s quite an insulting compromise.”
Doyle added: “Marriage is patriarchal. The whole idea of dressing up in a big white dress and being given away by your father and taking your husband’s name is a bit old fashioned.”
Civil registrar and Christianist zealot Lillian Ladele is at it again:
Controversial claims that Christians should not have to condone homosexuality will be made in the court of appeal today, as a registrar says she suffered discrimination by being required to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies.
Lillian Ladele, 48, has said she was treated unfairly in her role as a registrar for Islington council, which expected her to carry out the ceremonies despite her beliefs that they were “contrary to God’s law“.
“If this decision is allowed to stand it will help squeeze Christians from the public sphere because of their religious beliefs on ethical issues,” said Mike Judge, a spokesman for the Christian Institute, which is backing Ladele’s appeal.
“The rights of Muslims and homosexuals are protected, but the rights of Christians always seem to be on a lower level,” he added.
It’s a now familiar refrain. Arch Christians, now armed with equality legislation protecting their right to believe from discrimination, trying to suggest that their fundamentalist beliefs should somehow trump the rule of law. And Lillian Ladele failed in her earlier case against dismissal on quite logical grounds, which I don’t believe for a moment will be overturned. Religious equality legislation doesn’t give Christian zealots or anyone else the right to pick and choose who they are prepared to serve in the world of work, and nor should it – it’s quite absurd. Peter Tatchell puts the case against Ladele brilliantly when he says:
“The issue is very simple. Gay people have no right to discriminate against religious people, and religious people have no right to discriminate against gay people.”
Despite the absurdity of legislation protecting belief from discrimination he’s fundamentally right. So why sympathy for Lillian Ladele? As Afua Hirsch puts it:
Ladele told the court of appeal this week that she felt her religious views had been “caricatured”, a claim which deserves some sympathy given passages in the previous judgment like this one: “fundamental changes in social attitudes, particularly with respect to sexual orientation, are happening very fast and for some – and not only those with religious objections – they are genuinely perplexing” a patronising remark that is unlikely to have made this an easier pill to swallow.
I think it’s fair to say her devoutness has been caricatured, also to say that she should be allowed to have private homophobic thoughts for any reason she chooses. But homophobic behaviour is illegal, we are governed by the rule of law, and Christianity has a unique place in the British constitutional order; to suggest Christians are losing out in the equality agenda is blatant nonsense. I have sympathy for people whose beliefs don’t serve them well in the modern world, but I have no sympathy for anyone who thinks they can use their belief to opt out of having to abide by the rules by which the rest of us are supposed to treat one another. That way after all leads to the fate which befell Ian Baynham and nearly befell James Parkes.