“[S]elf-interest and an instinct to exclude rather than welcome is turning more and more people away from institutional religion.”
Thus speaks Simon Barrow, co-director of the ever-sensible religious think tank Ekklesia, in a bulletin that tells us: “Representatives of the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church have told the House of Commons that they will fight to maintain their powers to discriminate in cases of employment and against limits proposed in the Equality Bill.”
The two churches, says the bulletin, say they “fear their ‘right’ to discriminate on the basis of factors other than religion, would be ‘unreasonably’ limited by the new Equality Bill”.
And on what grounds would they wish to discriminate other than religion? one has to ask. They’re churches. Religion is what they’re about. Perhaps they just want to sneak their religiously motivated bigotry in matters of marital status, gender and sexual orientation in by the back door.
Barrow, comments, “At times it seems as if advisers to the two largest churches in Britain are on a crash course with reality, with fairness, and with the very meaning of the Christian message itself when it comes to handling equality and diversity concerns. Negativity, self-interest and an instinct to exclude rather than welcome is turning more and more people away from institutional religion.”
He adds, “The churches do not seem to understand that inward-looking self-preservation is a self-defeating strategy. This is something the founder of Christianity declared very pointedly to his followers in the Gospel accounts. But the irony and poignancy of this still seems lost on some of his modern-day followers.”
That’s tellin’ ’em, Simon. Keep up the good work.