A lot of nonsense is spoken about ‘religious freedom.’ What is it that people want to be legally free to do that they are prevented from doing by the law now? Well, some want to be free to discriminate against people of a different sexuality by firing them. They want to do that at religious schools and they say that having to subscribe to our discrimination laws inhibits them in the practice of their religion.
It is worth recalling what Kant said.
….the so-called religious struggles, which have so often shaken the world and spattered it with blood, have never been anything but squabbles over ecclesiastical faiths. And the oppressed have never really complained for being hindered from adhering to their religion (for no external power can do this), but for not being allowed to practise their ecclesiastical faith in public.
(‘Ecclesiastical’ there means, I think, ‘organised body of subscribers to a faith’.) Of course, no power on earth can stop me from praying to God. But they may want to have something to say about how I seek to practise that religion in public – by, for example, lacerating their bodies in public, or conspiring to kill their monarch because he or she practises a form of religion that is pure heresy, or campaigning against lowering carbon emissions because it is contrary to the book of Genesis.
From then on, it is pure politics. How much slack is the majority prepared to cut from their general laws for some believers? I would be dead against our parliament doing that to allow private schools, which are not there to trade at a loss, to discriminate against gay people. I say that because it is not fair to them, and because for a government to endorse this kind of exclusion is very unhealthy. What happens when they line up Catholics, Muslims or Jews?
In about the 60’s, it was fashionable in circles that might properly be called liberal, to say that the law should stop at the bedroom door. It is ironic that these latterday libertarians want to reverse all that.
And I certainly agree that if these schools want to be excluded from this part of the general law, they should also be excluded from the general law of charities and tax – and pay the full tariff.
And I would not be happy with anyone wanting to send a child to such a constipated outfit.