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Former Attorney General: British Christians should have protections for religious beliefs

  • Cal

    No Christian is prevented from expressing their views in this country unless those views bully others, infringe on their rights or incite hatred. These are clearly the type of views he holds most dear.

    • Steven Gregory

      Contemporary Christian “persecution” amounts to: Not getting their way all of the time.

      • That There Other David

        It’s because they got used to getting their way all of the time. What they’re losing now is their privileged position, nothing more. They can Amen away till the cows come home as far as I’m concerned, but they can’t use that as an excuse to oppress the lives of others. People like Grieve need to learn the difference.

        • Steven Gregory

          Through the ages Christians have announced horrifying “prophecies” if this happened or gays got equal marriage rights. NONE of it has come true. They’re seen by increasing numbers as the superstitions fear mongers that they are.

          Religion was great when people didn’t know where the Sun hid at night, but not so convincing nowadays.

          • Joeoz

            Of course we now know where the sun hides at night…
            It hides in the rear end of all those loony christians…!

          • Steven Gregory

            It is blocked by their head

  • Pablo

    These so called “beliefs” are not personal beliefs that came from within, they are the beliefs of OTHERS, beliefs of the PEOPLE who wrote their religious texts, it’s their CHOICE to believe in them. Religious privilege is being “attacked” for your choices as opposed to being attacked for being a woman, gay, black etc.

  • Darule Vozhak

    What a silly fool and what a society to live in where it is considered legitimate for religious groups to be given the right to discriminate. No group, religious, secular or otherwise should be granted an exemption from equality law and be given the right to tell others they are not worthy and less than human.

  • LJ

    This is all extremely vague. I think people should be entitled to mention in passing that they are a christian to colleagues, just like other aspects of their personal lives, but it’s unnaceptable to constantly proselytize and tell people that they need jesus because it is a completely irrelevant waste of time and it makes people uncomfortable.

    And as for the whole equal marriage thing… Not getting your way and being able to dictate the civil rights of others (mostly non-christians), does not constitute an attack on your faith. YOU can still not mary somebody of the same sex, nobody is forcing you to do anything. Religious rules are for religious people, I don’t follow the offside rule, but I’m not a footballer, it doesn’t apply to me.

  • Tom (Winnipeg)

    Not again! How long do we have to listen to these bigots. This is just an excuse to get their way with their hate for gays. That is all it is. Canadian Christians are doing fine, as I see it. They can’t express their bigotry with excuses, and they can’t spew their hate speech all over the place, so they’re fine.

  • Billy

    Where was the churches protection for LGBT people for the past 2000 years? Where would an atheists protection have been 2000 years ago? On top of a burning stake? At least secularism won’t cause religious people to fear for their lives in today’s society.

    • Steven Gregory

      Christians aren’t able to discriminate as freely as before, they really feel put upon.

      • GulliverUK

        Yes, burning at the stake / hanging for us, witches, heretics, are definitely now a no-no.

        • Joeoz

          Ah… don’t think that those christians wouldn’t burn or hang us if they still could…

  • Robert W. Pierce

    Oh shut up, Grieve! Nobody is saying religious people can’t express their beliefs in public except when they cross the line, such as discriminating in the delivery of goods and services. As for the workplace, well, there are places for religious belief, in a church, syngagogue, temple or mosque and of course, in one’s home. Keep it there. The workplace isn’t a place for expressing religious beliefs.

  • Fur Beasty

    Privilage is nothing but the taking of rights from others, it’s a very poor minded lawyer that doesn’t understand that.

  • Angela_K

    “Aggressive secularism, militant Atheists” Change the record you religious clowns, you are only whining because your privileged, protected bigotry has been taken away. The religious should be free to believe what ever nonsense they want and the rational should be free to laugh at them.

    • LJ

      I always laugh when I hear ‘militant atheist’, I wonder what a religious group would have to do to be labelled ‘militant’…

      • ejoty

        I suppose they could call themselves the Salvation ARMY.

  • Truth

    I believe in Peter Pan. Please can I have special rights to discriminate against people? No? Why not? It’s all about ‘belief’ in silly, childish fairy stories, isn’t it?

  • Peeps99

    “You can watch institutions or organisations do it or watch it happen at a local government level”

    Ah the old baiting is out again, I’m only surprised it’s in the Telegraph and not the Mail. Mr Grieve will then no doubt be surprised to hear the large local authority I work for is so anti-faith, it actually has a prayer room its employees of a religious persuasion. I doubt it is the only one. But as ever why let the facts get in the way…

  • Gareth

    He’s confusing persecution with the loss of absolute power and primacy of opinions. They’re not the same thing.

    • ian123

      Well said, that’s exactly what is happening in a nutshell.

    • Truth

      Old habits (and bigots) die hard.

    • Steven Gregory

      Cogent and brilliant

  • Chris in LA

    I have no objection to people’s beliefs or their talking about them openly. I do so myself, but I did have to threaten one of my staff with dismissal. He was a fundamentalist Christian who had decided to try to convert a Jewish colleague and to do so when I was not around. This man made the young woman feel so uncomfortable that she told me about it. And, yes, there are occasions on which talking about your faith is a bad thing and rightly not tolerated.

    However, what is called “belief” and “religion” so often these days is really no more than certain social attitudes that are held by some believers, although they really are independent of religion. There are some atheists who might be anti-LGBT. There are many Christians who are pro-LGBT. In fact some entire Christian denominations have expressed themselves to be at ease with gay people. Christianity requires its adherents to do no harm to others. It requires its adherents to avoid sin. This means that if a Christian believes that being gay is a bad and sinful thing, he can choose to have no gay friends and to avoid places where gay people congregate for pleasure, say a gay pub. What this kind of person *cannot* do and must not be allowed to do is to discriminate against others in the course of running their business or performing duties that are part of their employment. When society punishes these individuals, it is because they are not complying with what the law and society expects from them. It has nothing whatever to do with their being Christians or members of any other religious faith. They trot out their faith in order to claim, wrongly and hypocritically, that they are victims of persecution.

    It is interesting to note, in this context, that the countries in which Christians really are being persecuted and killed for their religion are countries that are very anti-LGBT and have laws to support that attitude. Perhaps our anti-LGBT Christians in Britain and the United States would be more comfortable moving to those countries in the Middle East or West Africa where the prevailing social ethic might suit them better. They would also have a chance of being persecuted with real martydom and assure themselves of a place in Heaven.

  • Robert

    “Christians discriminated against in the UK!” I am afraid even I, a member of the Church of England, when I hear this trotted out instead hear “Christians with extreme views denied protection against discriminating against others in the UK!”.

    I firmly believe that all discrimination against a person or group is wrong and should be dealt with to the full extent of the law (which already protects most creeds except in a few areas). I have heard of true discrimination against practicing Christians but in these cases it has been people or organizations not thinking and then being unwilling to admin their error rather than going out of the way to do malice from the start. However, more often than not it is those publicly preaching misquoted or selected parts of the bible to stir up fear, or those actively discriminating against others who seem to shout loudest about being discriminated against. Or that how it seems to me.

  • “he claims that Britain is being “sanitised” of faith”

    Another religious loon in denial.
    Britain isn’t being sanitised of faith, we are simply evolving as a society to be uninterested in the wittering of people’s imaginary friends.

    Here’s the deal, people are sick and tired of a bunch of ignorant, arrogant cultists dictating to society how others should live, who should have the right to do what, and who deserves to be attacked based on their gender, race, sexuality…

    No religious person is being denied anything, other than their imagined “right” to attack and persecute others.

    The UK is NOT a Christian country, NOT a Muslim country, NOT a $cientologist country. We are a SECULAR nation, and the laws of a secular nation DO NOT permit one religious group to preach their nonsense to the masses as though they have a “right” to do so.

    • Truth

      “Britain isn’t being sanitised of faith, we are simply evolving as a society to be uninterested in the wittering of people’s imaginary friends.” Superbly put! Wish I’d said that :)

    • Steven Gregory

      Their god isn’t powerful enough to sustain religion without political liars.

    • Rehan

      Unfortunately there actually is a state religion, isn’t there?

  • GulliverUK

    They’ve got all the protections they need – they don’t need any more.
    And we certainly wouldn’t listen to a homophobic bigot like Dominic Grieve.

    Nobody is asking for protections except homophobes, people like The Christian Institute. Normal Christians don’t discriminate against LGBT, it’s just a few fundamentalists, orthdox and traditionalists, and Evangelicals. It’s only the right-wing Christian nutters who want this – so no, no further rights – you’ve got too many already.

    • Steven Gregory

      No “Special Rights” for Christians!
      If religious people really believed in their GOD, why do they need tax exemption… aren’t GOD’s pockets deep enough?

      • Joeoz

        god doesn’t have much money these days…
        He has to pay the court costs of all those pedophile priests…

        • Steven Gregory

          The HBO documentary “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God” reveals it was predicted settlements in the United States alone could reach as high as $500 million. Now they have exceeded $2 BILLION and are well on the way to $3 BILLION. This is for public court-ordered settlements in the United States ONLY, not including out-of-court arrangements and those where deluded individuals “forgave” the church.

          Why would anyone still give to them?

    • Peter

      Grieve is not a bigot, he is a fair man and stands up for human rights. Plain and simple. Unless there is something I am missing I have not seen any evidence that he has done or said anything homophobic.

      As far as I can see he is standing up for people’s rights to wear religious things and to express their opinions and beliefs without getting sacked. Within reason that is fair enough and I’m sure Grieve, being a reasonable man, would agree.

      I hope that someone can answer me to say whether there is something on or off the record that I am unaware of that he has said or done which is homophobic. I get the impression that people are jumping to conclusions based on a leading headline and the fact that he is a practising Anglican…

      • GulliverUK

        Yes, he’s a two-faced bigot. He does not stand up for human rights.
        ^ voted against ALL lgbt equality legislation except CPs – in the case of CPs they voted yes on first reading, so they could derail them, when that failed they were left with little choice but to vote it through or explain why they had now changed their minds and reveal their plot.

        He has spoken to the EU about the advancement of gay rights and how much more needs to be done – this is hypocritical since he is one of the people who keeps voting against them.

        If there is one thing I can’t stand more than a homophobic bigot or a Tory, it’s one which is a hypocrite.

        Now, your response is? How are you going to defend his voting record vs his statement to the EU? He purposely tried to derail equal marriage, which is why he was sacked as AG.

        Here is his 2011 statement to the EU
        The Tories have delivered on almost nothing. Still got homophobia in sport, done little on hate crimes and bulling in schools, the blood ban is a joke, they’ve managed to give us 2nd class marriage (WTF!) by not sorting out pensions, and will be giving couples in CPs that convert to marriage a receipt, not a marriage certificate. That’s shocking. He is a moniker for everything which is wrong with the Tories, even most of his colleagues don’t like him.

        • Peter

          Thanks, that is a detailed and thoughtful response.

          I’ve met the guy and I have followed him for a few years, I voted for him when I lived in his constituency. He strikes me as a fair man who is open to persuasion on many issues. I can’t reconcile the headbanger you make him out to be with the man I met. As you point out he has voted against us, this hurts us and reflects poorly on his judgement.

          The flip side with Grieve though is his support for human rights and his belief in rights in general. He even gets praise from anti-government lefties like Shami Chakrabarti for goodness sake!

          In my view this makes him far a potential friend for gay people than a definite enemy.

  • Jordy

    What BS, soon he will have us believe that they are being tossed to the lions again.

  • Guglielmo Marinaro

    Protection of people’s right to hold and freely express whatever religious beliefs they choose? Yes, absolutely. Protection of their right to impose their religious beliefs on others and to interfere with other people’s lives on the basis of those beliefs? No, definitely not, because no such right exists.

    • Mikey

      Thank-you for saying this. I think the line you added “…and to interfere with other people’s lives” is absolutely CRUCIAL to this debate.
      It doesn’t get said often enough:
      Believe what you will, but do NOT let it interfere with other people who do not share your beliefs.

      • Truth

        Religious ‘belief’ is not and can never be allowed to be a licence to discriminate. What sort of democracy would that be? Believe whatever you want. Just do not expect to be allowed to force others to believe.

  • kane

    what next? a christian version of sharia law for all?

  • ian123

    Protection against what? Protection against anyone not sharing those beliefs? :-)

    • Truth

      Precisely! They are demanding the right to discriminate based on a ‘belief’. What next? Jews allowed to refuse to serve Muslims? Catholics permitted to discriminate against Protestants? Where would it all end? It is patently childish and utterly unworkable – unless, of course, you live somewhere like Russia or Africa where the church still holds enormous and, to me, unfathomable and unjustifiable power.

      • ejoty

        We saw where it did end when the Catholics and Protestants were burning each other in the sixteenth century.

  • Robert W. Pierce

    Grieve’s rant only makes it that more compelling to take disestablishment of state religion that more seriously, a matter of urgency but I suspect a lot of Tories would put a roadblock on that. The CofE even has a representative in the Commons, Tory MP Tony Baldry, a free mason no less.

  • Craig Young

    They already do, under antidiscrimination laws. However, the right to freedom of religious practice, while broad and largely unrestricted, needs some circumscription, especially in cases where unfettered practice harms others. Which is why western societies ban female circumcision, mutilation of small animals in the case of animal sacrifice, polygamy and ceremonial ingestion of cannabis. And homophobic and transphobic discrimination.

  • Jeremy Wright

    Until people understand homosexuality is a disposition this debate will be conducted stupidly by defenders of so called religious freedom. People are entitled to believe what they want, but that is a choice, not so the gay guy who chooses not to have sex, he is no less attracted to men.

    Having this debate around sacred texts and men in robes will do little to assist these people in being taken seriously. Grieve was an excellent attorney general as it happens on civil liberties matters, but his views as a social conservative are based off faith, which while he never sought to foist in ministerial capacity, he has now chosen to vent as a backbencher.

    Discrimination in the provision of goods and services is no longer acceptable and rightly so. Now we have the absurd situation with bishops queueing up to support gay marriage, but the government legislated to prevent the C of E from performing gay marriages in a church. It’s all plainly ridiculous, time to get some sense into parliamentarians.

    • GulliverUK

      A pretty crap human being, and bad attorney general, since there have been multiple cases which have gone right up to the ECHR and found discrimination against LGBT is unacceptable in all those cases. Why would a good attorney general even being spouting this nonsense – it is settled law.

      If anyone is pushing Christians out of the public square it is people like Grieve and Evangelicals who are as rabidly homophobic as ever. In this country the culture war is stone dead, the only people still making a noise are the walking dead. No religion can ever be used to makes laws because we live in a multi-faith society, and we now have science and can establish laws on rational argument and empirical evidence, to include the rights of everyone in proportion. If somebody believes in a particular reason that is a choice, even within a faith there are many varied opinions and beliefs – a majority of Christians, Anglican and Catholic, in the UK, believe in equal rights including equal marriage, and most Christians wouldn’t dream of refusing goods and services, so there is no reason to pander to wacky right-wing Evangelicals or Catholics – they don’t represent the majority of Christians.

      Dominic Grieve should be ashamed at his appalling stance on equality.

  • Truth

    Why cannot these people see the ludicrousness of their argument? They are demanding that their ‘belief’, to which they have CHOSEN to adhere, be given a licence with which to discriminate against other citizens. This is as childish as Everton Supporters demanding to be allowed to refuse to serve Liverpool fans. FFS – let’s just confine ‘belief’ to where it belongs: in the mind. It has absolutely NO place whatsoever in the politics of a country. The days of religion enjoying privilege and control over the masses, are over.

  • St Sebastian, the Humanist

    “Some of the cases which have come to light of employees being disciplined or sacked for simply trying to talk about their faith in the workplace I find quite extraordinary.” Grieve’s tortured perspective. I might add that one’s religion is a choice (unless indoctrinated as a child) and talk about one’s faith in the workplace is all too often proselytising.

    “Some of the cases which have come to light of employees being disciplined or sacked for simply being gay I find quite extraordinary.” My perspective, and I would like to point out that being homosexual is not a choice. I do not condone talking about one’s intimate sex life, whether straight or gay, in the work place.

    I might also remind Grieve that religion is an ‘opt-in’ personal choice, supported by democratic freedoms whereas secularism is the base position that enables freedom to choose one’s religious beliefs. Grieve, no-one is stopping you from living your life according to your religious principles, but you are not free to enforce your religious beliefs on others.

    • ejoty

      But religions isn’t always an ‘opt-in’ personal choice. I was sent to Sunday School by my parents, and not asked if I wanted to go there. Fortunately I grew out of it.
      Most people’s religion is simply the one that they inherited from their parents. Indeed, it often seems to be the converts who choose to move from one religion to another who prove to be the most irrational fundamentalists.

    • George Broadhead

      Quite right and a good reason why commentators should seriously consider supporting the National Secular Society and the Pink Triangle Trust

  • Alli Paterson

    you can have any religion you like, I just do not ever ever want to hear you talk about it. It is why you have church, talk about it there. I don’t care about your religious views and it offends me that you think you can inflict them on me.

    • Douglas Dmitri Mosier

      No, you bloody fat cow, I will talk about ANY damn thing in ANY damn place I want and NOTHING you can do will stop me! If you don’t like it, tough

  • Steven Gregory

    “The sanitisation will lead to people of faith excluding themselves from the public space and being excluded.”

    If Great Britain is indeed sanitising itself of mythology and superstition, BRAVO!

  • Steven Gregory

    Poor poor Christians, their lousy faith is being attacked from all angles. Soon they’ll have to bake cakes for same-sex weddings. What about the SANCTITY OF BUTTERCREAM?

    • stephenmole

      Oh dear, buttercream? Only if it’s water-based.

  • JackAlison

    Its AmAZING how the chief discriminators are now the “persecuted”

  • doug

    He is urinating in the wind.

    Maybe if these bigots at Christian concern hadn’t taken so many case to court there wouldn’t be so many landmark judgments standing in their way.

  • Rumbelow

    “Mr Grieve said in 2012: “I think being a practising homosexual is a bit like being a practising member of the Church of England.”

    Not really, as human sexual orientation is intrinsic and fixed,then being a practising homosexual is so much more like being a practising heterosexual than it is like being a practising member of the Church of England, Religion and religious belief is always a choice wherever it has not been imposed by brainwashing indoctrination from childhood.

    • Robert W. Pierce

      “Practising homosexual” indeed. Does he really believe sexual orientation is a type of hobby? If anything, being religious and a homophobe are both chosen although he’ll deny the latter claiming he has gay friends/colleagues. Nobody comes into this world that way, all learned behaviour. Get over it, Grieve and while you’re at it, yourself. Nobody, no religion should be above the law or receive special privileges to the exclusion of everyone else. How would he like to be denied goods and services because an atheist or other non-christian owned business found his beliefs unacceptable or offensive? These loons had better be careful what they wish for.

  • Sim Morris

    Typical Tory bigot pig.
    No LGBT person in their right mind should vote Tory – it is the party of christo-fascist homophobic hatred.
    This evil scumbag Grieve does not seem to grasp a simply fact – his moronic religious beliefs are protected – however he is not allowed to impose his moronic beliefs on more evolved people.

    • GulliverUK

      Don’t hold back Sam :d

  • Sim Morris

    Does this evil f***er support the separation of church and state in Britain?
    If not then he can eat s*** for all I care.
    Like the majority of the Tory Party, Grieve belongs in the BNP when it comes to gay rights.

  • Rehan

    “Some of the cases which have come to light of employees being disciplined or sacked for simply trying to talk about their faith in the workplace I find quite extraordinary.

    I’m afraid I know of none – it’d’ve been such a help if Grieve could have cited some examples. But the evidence for his claims seems conspicuous by its absence.

    • to_tell_the_truth

      Workplaces are NOT houses of worship. They are secular business environments.

  • mike

    What a load of rubbish! Christian churches and cathedrals still exisit and the Queen is still the Supreme Govenor of the C of E. No one is persecuting Christianity with lions anymore!!!! And no one is being burnt at the stake either!

  • to_tell_the_truth

    RE: “Former Attorney General: British Christians should have protections for religious beliefs”
    They are entitled to their beliefs, same as anyone else is.
    They are NOT entitled to discriminate BECAUSE of those beliefs.
    We can never eliminate prejudice from people’s hearts. What we CAN (and SHOULD) eliminate is discrimination in the public square BASED on those beliefs.
    Prejudice is bad enough. But religion-based prejudice is heinous in the extreme when religion is supposed to be about treating others as we would like to be treated ourselves. This is the central tenet of the world’s 13 major religions.
    And, the sooner the religionists ‘get’ the message they purportedly believe, the better.

  • stephenmole

    Sexuality is a fact, faith is just a belief founded on (often very outdated and ill-informed) dogma. Case closed.

  • James Murphy

    really Christians need protections when Christians are travelling to other country’s making fun of there beliefs and god and trying to convert them into there belief the only reason this being brought up is that Christianity is what it not use to be church attendance is falling in this country people have no time for religion in there life young people think going to church is uncool etc in other words i don’t really care all religion is just fairy tale to me anyway im a humanist.

  • gene

    the two thousand year scourge on humanity wants protection from their victims…

  • Alexander Kelso Shiels

    All religions shoud be “Outlawed” simple as that, ten there woul be no need for intervetion.

  • darzan

    ..No, he’s wrong—all religions do nothing and have throughout history held back the progress of the human race and also has always prevented the truth from being accepted…

  • George Broadhead

    This is very reminiscent of the vehement anti-secular views expressed by the former Tory Chair and Muslim Baroness Warsi

  • When talking about Grieve and his ilk, please use the term “christian” rather than Christian. They are not the authentic voice of Christianity. People of faith in this country do not suffer persecution. Those of us who have been watching events in the Middle East understand the reality of religious persecution.

    Personal belief does not give anyone the right to impose those beliefs on others.

  • Secularist FreeThought

    Do these cretins even know what religious freedoms/liberty mean? They mean the right to believe as you wish, they don’t mean open access proselytism in the workplace. They don’t mean you can discriminate who you serve in the workplace. They don’t mean you can state your opinion and then be immune from rebuttal.

    “Some of the cases which have come to light of employees being disciplined or sacked for simply trying to talk about their faith in the workplace I find quite extraordinary.” The case in which he’s talking about was in Ireland, and it was about a person who was repeatedly warned to stop proselytizing during work hours after a complaint was paced by another worker. It wasn’t a church after all. This person breached that warning numerous times, and was later dismissed for it. Sounds reasonable to me. Religious beliefs should be a private affair. You’re entitled to have them, as I am entitled not to. I have the right not to be harassed with them, too.

  • Secularist FreeThought

    Religious freedoms confused with religious privilege.

  • Sascha616

    Looked it up on the CAB website and there are too many to count (it’s late, I am numerate but too tired to go through every citation) of protections due to religion. This guy is waving it out of his orifice out of which one usually does not talk. In fact it seems clear from this that employees are utterly permitted to talk about their faith, and even read the Bible out loud to others without their approval or consent, and should they or others be criticised for that, it is the Bible reader and their defenders who have the legal standing, not the ones who do nt wish to hear it.

  • Sam

    People find it much more useful to portray themselves and those they agree with as victims so as to justify whatever actions are needed to further their goals. This approach has been fortified by the continuing victories of actual oppressed minorities. Being honest and taking personal responsibility for one’s actual position in the world would be more likely to make a better world. (Not that that is what I think they actually want, unfortunately…. :( )

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