Human rights and religion

What are “human rights?” Libya must be the expert, since they’ve just been elected to head the UN rights watchdog committee. One pointer for the rest of us, who aren’t experts, is that they mean an end to the freedom of religious institutions to run their own affairs. For example, across the Atlantic they mean that church bodies have to employ atheists and Catholic schools can’t penalize pregnant pupils or interview pupils and parents to determine religious commitment.

Strictly speaking, the interviews are forbidden as a matter of general fairness rather than human rights in particular—they might be used to select pupils on grounds such as intellectual ability and parental support. Still, the two concerns tend to merge. After all, if Catholic schools could choose students for being smart, they might get the idea they can follow their own standards and next thing you know they might start firing Satanists. And that would constitute direct denial of a basic principle of modern government, the practical abolition of religion as a limitation on the supremacy of the state.

5 thoughts on “Human rights and religion”

  1. One of the articles Mr. Kalb
    One of the articles Mr. Kalb linked is so incredible I’m copying part of it here. I did not think the forces that be would go this far. And notice what sort of organizations are exempted from the rules.

    Euro rules force Church bodies to employ atheists
    Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
    Electronic Telegraph, 25/01/2003

    Thousands of religious schools, charities and organisations could face legal action if they refuse to employ atheists or sack staff who become Satanists under proposed Government regulations.

    The laws, which are based on a European Union directive and which have to be implemented by December, ban discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of religion, belief or sexual orientation.

    But a report from the Christian Institute says the laws will restrict the freedom of religious organisations to employ solely staff who are practising believers.

    Christian groups are particularly angry that the Government has chosen to exempt political parties from the laws, so that the Labour Party will be able to continue its policy of employing only party members.

    “While the Vegetarian Society can refuse to employ meat-eaters and the RSPCA can sack an executive who is found to have invested in the fur trade, churches which employ Christians could now face legal action for doing so,” the institute said.”They could face the possibility of crippling legal actions just for following their beliefs.”

    Under the new regulations, all religious organisations, including schools, charities, parishes and mosques, will need to have a very strong case to require recruits to share their beliefs.

  2. This is a naked and
    This is a naked and unprovoked assault on religion by the powers that be. They’re not even bothering to hide it any more—they’re brazenly shoving it down throats in broad daylight. Not just religious people, but everyone, including the irreligious, the agnostics, and the atheists should strenuously oppose this, because it’s wrong and immoral. If they can’t see that or can’t get themselves to care, then they should strenuously oppose it if only because they never know but that their own throats will be next to feel the ghastly oxygen-stifling pressure of the Tranzi iron boot heel.

  3. I wonder if the Madrassahs
    I wonder if the Madrassahs springing up all over Europe will be subjected to this rule? Somehow, I expect the Blairs, Chiracs and the misc. “diversity directorates” will find a way to exempt them. I expect the few remaining Christian believers in this leftist paradise will have no choice but to go underground.

  4. If you want to avoid
    If you want to avoid becoming a state sponsored religion avoid sponsorship of the State. Seems like a simple idea.

    Bush’s religious service provider initiative is designed to bring the churches under state control. I can’t figure why this is so popular among consevatives.

  5. Some problems with the
    Some problems with the “non-entanglement” approach:

    1. The state will entangle itself in your affairs anyway. The “you must hire Satanists” rule and the “Catholic schoolgirls have the right to engage in sex” rule apply even if you accept no state aid.

    2. What constitutes sponsorship? Under US law if one student at a school gets federal financial aid then the school becomes subject to e.g. affirmative action rules because it’s federally supported.

    3. The view that religion and politics are separate spheres can’t be maintained. If something’s an important truth about the fundamental nature of man and the world keeping it strictly separate from politics and government is rather artificial.

    I agree for all that that under present circumstances it’s a good idea for religious institutions to keep government as much as possible at arm’s length.


Leave a Comment