Faith and ideas

Don Arthur has had an interesting series of posts on religion and politics, including reference to Rocco Buttiglione, a candidate for the EU commission who has come under fire for his anti-gay views, which reflect his Catholic religious faith.

As I’ve said previously, I have no problem with people taking political stands based on their religious views. As far as I can see, almost no-one consistently objects to this. Most people who complain about mixing religion and politics do so only when they don’t like the religious views being expressed. Here for example is Gerard Henderson on Archbishop Peter Carnley, saying

on-elected religious leaders appear all too anxious to get involved with that which pertains to Caesar. It’s a pity, really. For the evidence suggests that clerical types perform at their best in the sacristy.

A couple of years later, he’s busy defending Pell and Jensen, and saying criticism of them is “a new form of sectarianism”. Henderson complains that there are leftwingers who welcome Carnley’s comments but expect conservative Christians to remain silent – this is about as fine a case of the pot calling the kettle black as I’ve ever seen.

But my main point in this post is a simple one. If you can’t take the heat, keep out of the kitchen. In modern pluralist societies, we have a general agreement that everyone has a right to their own religious views. Discrimination on grounds of religious faith is unlawful and even vigorous criticism of religious beliefs is generally considered distasteful. But a lot of religious people seem to expect the same convention to be extended into the political sphere, and to have their views treated with deference because they are religiously based. Consider this,

The Avvenire newspaper of the Roman Catholic Bishops Conference complained that the decision of the European Rights Commission to rule Buttiglione unfit for public office ‘because of what he thinks’ is ‘a sad sign for civilisation – not for religion.’

‘They have discriminated against a person on the basis of his faith and his ideas,’ the paper said.

This would be funny, if it weren’t put forward seriously. If we’re not supposed to discriminate between candidates for public office on the basis of their ideas, what should we do – choose them by lot?

29 thoughts on “Faith and ideas

  1. Actually you will not be surprised that I disagree with al you say. I guess that makes me a
    most extreme fundamentalist sectarian but so be it.
    wives are to submissive to their husbands as Jesus was to God. Husbands are to serve their wives as Jesus served the church.

    Paul like Peter in Acts merely sys that the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus. Remember they were God’s chosen people. I don’t see this as a denigration as Paul was one of them and indeed wanted all of them to be saved.

    slaves obeying their masters is simply worshipping god at work or better known these days as the Ptotestant work ethic.

    condemnation of homosexuals is the same for all people who have sex outside of marriage.
    Can men be married to men or women to women. No this is another subject but take into account a few things. Only a man and a woman can be one flesh . This is more than sex. woman was made for man as well.That is why we have husband and wife.

  2. “Actually you will not be surprised that I disagree with al you say. I guess that makes me a
    most extreme fundamentalist sectarian but so be it.”

    Paul and Mark – Homer’s comments above show that he hides his homophobia behind religion. Paul, you were spot on when you pointed out how these fundamentalists will use scripture as literally as they can when it suits their particular world view, then ignore the stuff that doesn’t quite work.

    Having read Homer’s stuff in the past, you just gotta laugh that such a smart brain is wasted by the straight jacket of a really old book that just gets more and more absurd the harder they try and defend it.

    Peace etc.

  3. smart brain? You obviously haven’t read my comments.

    I would like to say how much I appreciate how ‘tolerant’ people in the blogosphere are intolerant of ideas they don’t like.

  4. i want to know that according to our faith can we marry our first cousin. In pakistan priests are against it.

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