Intolerance of intolerance.

29 03 2007

The Catholic church feels that gay rights laws are intolerant; because they impose a secular program of pluralism onto those whose religious beliefs are at odds with this. In essence the argument boils down to the fact that gay rights laws force christians to go against their beliefs. Given that there are probably more Catholics in the UK than gays, at first glance it does appear wrong that a majority group is being subjected to the minority will.

However it’s not that simple. Put simply, Catholicism’s homophobia is intolerance. I don’t care if you use religion to cloak it, if you say the bible says it, that doesn’t make it any less intolerant. The bible itself is totally intolerant. An “eye for an eye” hardly sounds tolerant. In fact the vengeful God presented in the Old Testament is to tolerance what Hitler was to Jews. This raises an interesting question; is intolerance of an intolerant belief system actually intolerance? Whilst there may be many advocates of the right of people to practice whatever faith they wish who would argue that no matter how intolerant a faith is, it’s entitled to freedom of conscience, I must disagree. Whilst I do agree that racist groups such as the BNP are allowed a platform to speak, and whilst even the law allows them such, we do have laws in place against incitement of religious hatred. What next, will the BNP claim such statutes are intolerant of their political beliefs?

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor might believe that it’s wrong that equality is at odds with religion but it’s hardly the state’s fault if Catholicism is a religion that is, by its nature, at odds with equality. Catholicism is, at its very root, God-sanctioned bigotry, or at least they claim to be sanctioned by God. What staunch Christians refuse to acknowledge is the possibility that many parts of the Old Testament were written by the religious leaders at the time in response to health risks, as opposed to being the word of God. The prohibition on pork (which Christians conveniently ignore) was no doubt in response to the lack of refrigeration and the health risks posed by the bacteria attracted to badly kept pork. If people kept dying it no doubt occured to the religious leaders to use God as a sure-fire way to stop people eating pork. Given that we know the health risks faced by homosexual men in today’s world, even with all the advances in medical technology, is it not possible also that the prohibition on homosexuality relates more to the lack of contraception than any religious edict? This would certainly explain the prohibitions on fornication and wanton sex. Overpopulation and STIs running rampant would be enough motivation.

The cardinal can say he doesn’t demand special privileges, that he is merely standing up for his right, but I ask if being intolerant is really a right anyone is entitled to. By asking that the law allow you to be intolerant to your heart’s content, merely because your outdated religious bigotry says you’re allowed to, you are asking for special privileges.


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