Thursday, July 10, 2008

The religious 'conscience' again

Another incredible case from the UK. A religious fundamentalist whose day job is working as a marriage registrate refused to marry gay couples. An employment tribunal agreed that her employer (the local council) had harassed her by asking her to marry gay couples against her religious beliefs.

I know, I have been there before (and will be there again), but I just cannot get my head around the fact that she can't just get fired for not doing her job. I mean, people don't come to see her as a religious fundamentalist but as a public official. She's entitled to go home, wash her hands and whatnot to clean herself of the dirt that gay people and other 'sinners' are undoubtedly in her view, but how can anyone in authority permit such stuff to influence her professional conduct? It's utterly absurd. What if gay folks that happen to be marriage registrates refused to wed religious fundamentalists? Or a racist marriage magistrate who refuses to wed mixed-ethnicity couples? If recourse to 'conscience' is sufficient, surely it's a free for all... If the magistrate in question doesn't feel like marrying people that are legally entitled to marry, she's unfit to do her job and should get fired.


  1. AnonymousJuly 14, 2008

    Quite frankly she shouldn't be working there to begin with.

  2. Yes, she can believe whatever she wants and practice her superstitious rituals of choice (as long as no one is directly and significantly harmed, etc). If the state brought fire and sword against her to try to suppress her beliefs and practices, I'd be first in her defence. But if the required duties of a particular job are against her religious conscience she shouldn't take that job. If she's not prepared to carry out her duties, she should be dismissed from employment. I'm sure there are many other jobs she'd be qualified for.


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