A British judge has utterly and completely dismissed as “irrational” and “capricious” any and all conscience claims a Christian can make in the course of their daily lives.
The judge, Lord Justice Walls, said yesterday that “In the eyes of everyone save the believer, religious faith is necessarily subjective, being incommunicable by any kind of proof or evidence.”
On this basis, he stated, the law cannot be used to protect religious belief.
With that, the judge has effectively declared legal war on religious believers and has told them that every time their values clash with the values of the surrounding culture, they will lose and their conscience rights will be overridden.
The consequences of this for freedom of conscience and religion simply cannot be overestimated.
The judge was ruling yesterday on a case involving a sex therapist, Gary McFarlane (pictured), who on religious grounds said he could not offer sex therapy sessions to a same-sex couple.
McFarlane was sacked and was challenging his dismissal. He received public backing from the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey.
The judge in this case is evidently a subscriber to the sort of hard-line secularism represented by the likes of Richard Dawkins. In this view, religion is inherently irrational and must be consigned to the private sphere at best. It has no part to play in public life and certainly no part to play in the law or politics.
But not only can it not shape the law Christians can be allowed no exemptions whatsoever from the law because of their beliefs. On this basis, any doctor or nurse asked to perform an abortion would have to do so like it or not on the grounds that their objection to abortion was “irrational”, “capricious”, “necessarily subjective” and beyond “any kind of proof or evidence”.
Frankly, this judge is philosophically illiterate. If religious value judgements are beyond “any kind of proof or evidence”, then so are all value judgments, including the value judgement that all people must be treated equally.
Cleverer secularists than he, such as AJ Ayers, frankly admitted this. Ayers believed that all value judgements, religious or otherwise, are ultimately subjective, are not based on facts and are really expressions of personal preference, no more.
This being so, the values enshrined in our laws are simply those of whichever faction happens to be dominant in society at any given point. They do not derive from objective facts.
Currently the dominant faction is secular and becoming ever more militantly so. They are placing their values above all other values and by crushing freedom of conscience, are permitting no dissent whatever.
Their greatest trick is to convince both themselves and others that they are being objective, rational and neutral in what they are doing. They are not. What they are imposing upon society is a sort of secular theocracy and the irony is that they are doing so in the name of ‘anti-theocracy’.
In Ireland, our political establishment is also moving to embrace this kind of thinking as evidenced by the refusal to insert a conscience clause into the Civil Partnership Bill and the recent treatment of Catholic fertility doctor, Phil Boyle.