Here we go again.

May 21, 2008

Another day, another story about a religious bigot who refuses to do the job they’re paid for.

A civil registrar who refuses to officiate at partnerships between same-sex couples, claiming that it is “sinful” and against her religion, has brought a legal case that could have implications for ceremonies conducted throughout the country.

Note that this is a civil registrar, employed by the town hall to perform a public duty.  She is not paid to discriminate.  Once again, there is a simple solution to her dilemma: get another job.  If you have a particular conviction then you should be the one to suffer for it, not the general public.  I don’t care what that conviction is. For example: when I started work as a programmer, I wrote real-time motion control applications (monitoring and robotics, prinicpally), as such I could probably demand a high wage in the arms industry writing missile guidance systems.  But I have a private conviction that I won’t write applications for the military, so I don’t.  I forgo the money I could make writing military applications, and opt to do the best job I can in civil industries.  What I don’t do is what this woman is doing: I don’t go screaming to the arms industry claiming discrimination.

The simple fact is that this woman – like many religious people, including some of our own polititians – is a bigot.  She may also be religious, but this is simply an attempt to make her bigotry “acceptable”, and it is telling indeed that many in the media – and in government – appear to be buying this hook, line and sinker.

But it gets worse.  This homophobic bigot is claiming persecution too because:

Ms Ladele, who has worked for the council for 16 years, alleged that she was accused of being homophobic by gay colleagues at Islington town hall and was shunned by staff after refusing to carry out civil partnerships.

You read that right.  She’s actively attempting to discriminate against gays, and is shocked – shocked! – to find that she’s being described as homophobic.  But isn’t that precisely what she is?  Or is she claiming that the word “homophobic” cannot be applied to someone who is religious?

She claimed that she was “ridiculed” by her boss, the superintendent registrar Helen Mendez-Childs, when she raised her concerns about the new ceremonies in August 2004.

Ridicule?  Personally, I couldn’t heap enough ridicule on this woman, and I think she’s doing a pretty damned good at ridiculing herself.  But what was this alleged ridicule?

Ms Ladele said that her superior had told her that her stance was akin to a registrar refusing to marry a black person.

And her superior had it bang on the money.  It is akin to a registrar refusing to marry a black person.  It is akin to refusing to marry an inter-racial couple. It is unwarranted discrimination, and it is wrong.

“There was no respect whatsoever for my religious beliefs,” she said.

And neither should there be.  Respect is earned.  Just because a belief is religious does not suddenly mean it has earned respect.  If superstitious clap-trap is making you believe stupid things, then you believe stupid things, and those views don’t suddenly become worth of respect: they’re still worthy of horror and ridicule.

It’s about time the religious started feeling uncomfortable discriminating against gays.  It’s about time that politicians ignored any organisation that promotes this kind of bigotry, instead of pandering to them. And it’s about time that those religious people who feel that their “personal convictions” stop them performing the duties they are paid to perform either found other jobs, or stopped having such stupid “personal convictions”.


Another minister that won’t listen

May 7, 2008

I can only assume from this that Home Secretary Jackie Smith has been taking advice from the Hillary Clinton school of politics

Cannabis is to be reclassified as a class B drug, Jacqui Smith has said.

Because, presumably, there is a good reason to do so:

The home secretary said she wanted to reverse Tony Blair’s 2004 downgrading of the drug because of “uncertainty” over its impact on mental health.

Okay, so presumably the advice she had been given by her scientific advisors on the matter had been unclear? Nope:

Her statement to MPs came despite the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs’ review – commissioned by Gordon Brown – saying it should stay class C.

She’s doing because she can, and because – presumably – the Daily Mail has told her to.

If you have experts in a field telling you – after a period of investigation – that cannabis should remain a class C drug, the obvious conclusion should be to ignore the people who study the field, and conclude that they were probably all high at the time.  Apparently, though, these experts don’t know what they’re talking about, because:

Since cannabis was downgraded there has been widespread concern about the increased prevalence of stronger “skunk” varieties.

Presumably, because the experts the government consulted were entirely unaware of any information regarding the potency of cannabis in current circulation.  I can only assume that the experts the government consulted were morons.  Which – obviously – says more about the government than it does about their experts.

She added that the government’s change of heart – which is subject to parliamentary approval – was part of a “relentless drive”

Relentless.

Why would you have a relentless drive against something the experts – the scientists, the medical practitioners, and those people who actually know what they’re talking about – say should remain classified as a Class C drug? Or are politicians really just terminally stupid.

For the record, I don’t smoke cannabis.  I have, but I don’t anymore.  I do, however, drink alcohol, and I do smoke tobacco, I love a good burger and I love cycling on the roads. Which of these will kill me quicker, I wonder?