After all the noise, ill-informed bigotry and bald threats it appears that the mob derived power of religions to claim special status and exemption from the laws with govern everyone else in the UK has come to an end.
It seems Tony Blair has been forced to accept he cannot grant Roman Catholics an exemption to a law his own Government introduced. It’s a rare and belated demonstration of the strength of Cabinet decision making and one is left pondering how different the last 10 years would have been had the Cabinet exercised their power more often.
Religions and their followers must always be welcome in any tolerant society but they cannot enjoy any special status which removes them from the need to comply with the laws of the land.
Over the years Parliament has debated and passed laws covering civil marriage, abortion, transplants, IVF, decriminalisation of homosexuality and civil partnerships – each has been subjected to the same hysterical and highly organised campaigns by a dwindling minority of religious followers.
For many genuinely devout members of our society it must be uncomfortable to be confronted with the truth that their religion no longer has a veto on society’s norms and laws. However sympathetic we are to such believers this is a long overdue lesson and one which could have been made easier with more honest leadership by senior religious figures.
Related Discussion: Religion and Homophobia