Animal Rights - Britain’s latest official religion
And so it came to pass the ‘Environmentalism’ was declared a religion for the purposes of employment law. His Grace said after that ruling:
It is not simply that ‘green views’ are now on a par with religious or philosophical beliefs, but that any ‘strong beliefs’ which influence one’s opinions and which affect a whole lifestyle may be considered a religion.And so Environmentalism begat Animal Rights Activism – another ‘landmark ruling’; this time that a person’s anti-hunting beliefs should be protected from discrimination in the same way as religion.
To the euphoria of animal rights activists nationwide, Judge Lawrence Guyer ruled that animal rights beliefs are a ‘philosophical belief’ akin to religion under employment law. Joe Hashman may be a hunt saboteur, and may act outside the law, but his belief in the sanctity of life ‘extends to his fervent anti-fox hunting belief’, and such beliefs should be protected under 2003 employment regulations.
It was argued in court by his opponents that Mr Hashman's beliefs were ‘incoherent, inconsistent, politically motivated by class war and that they endorsed violence’. Ergo, they were not worthy of respect. The judge rejected that argument. Quoting Mr Hashman, he held that he believes that ‘people should live their lives with mindful respect for animals and we all have a moral obligation to live in a way which is kind to each other, our environment and our fellow creatures’.
As with Tim Nicolson's climate change case, the judgment that animal rights activism amounts to a ‘philosophical belief’ permits the case to proceed to a hearing.
When His Grace posted exactly a year ago this week that Conservatism was now a religion, it was a little tongue in cheek, not least because the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 explicitly exclude political belief as a protected belief. Yet it is hard to see why. The legislation states:
2 (1) In these Regulations, ‘religion or belief’ means any religion, religious belief, or similar philosophical belief.At what point does a ‘body of opinion' become a 'religion'? If it were not for the Buddhists, it could all conveniently be down to the invocation of a deity. It now appears that if a belief is pursued with religious fervor (that is the important word) by a sufficient number of people, then it may be defined as a religion. And so anything (except Burke, Mill or Marx) may become creed, and anything made god.
The moment the state begins to define ‘religion’, and then attempts to apportion rights and liberties under the guise of an enlightened tolerance of relativist equality, there is no logical end to the official recognition of all manner of weird cults, strange sects, spurious beliefs and pseudo-religions, all of which have to be equal under the law irrespective of the common good and irrelative to the inherent counterknowledge believed or propagated.
If you wish to believe that a carpenter from Nazareth can rise from the dead, you are free to do so. But in the age of ‘equality’ and ‘non-discrimination’, this is no different from - indeed, entirely equivalent to - believing that a middle-eastern illiterate warlord had a direct line to Allah; a man can walk around with the head of an elephant; and that Satan is worthy to be worshipped. These beliefs are now equal before the law and akin to the philosophies of man-made global warming, veganism and animal rights activism.
Why should atheists not enjoy the same protection?
For an atheist in the House of Commons who presents himself in the chamber during parliamentary prayers ought to have the right in law to object to the affront. Those of all faiths and none have the right in law to object to the 26 bishops who sit in the House of Lords, which is a manifest discrimination against not only Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists, but also the Nonconformists and Roman Catholics.
And since we’re talking about employment law, is being king a job? Is it employment which bestows the same employment rights enjoyed by the rest of us? If so, it is difficult to see how the prohibition on the Monarch being or marrying a Roman Catholic can survive this judicial onslaught.
Pope Benedict XVI was right to point out that the Equality Bill restricts religious freedom and violates natural law.
If any sinister sect, trivial ‘-ism’ and ephemeral ‘-ology’ are now no different from the Christian Faith which forged the laws and culture of this nation, it is difficult to understand why political beliefs are not covered by the legislation.
Why does pacifism trump Marxism?
Why does humanism trump fascism?
Why does every ‘-ism’ and '-ology' under the sun trump Christianity?
Why does the non-belief in a god merit protection under the law, but not the belief that liberalism is antithetical to conservatism because of the consequent emphasis on individual autonomy and the rights of man?
Why is the decision not to eat meat merit protection under the law, but not commitment to conservatism which manifests itself in patriotism, custom, respect for the law, loyalty to a leader or monarch, and in the willing acceptance of the privileges of those to whom privilege is granted?
Why do those who decide not to wear leather merit protection under the law, but not those who in some deeper part of themselves yearn for a social order which is motivated and consoled by the forces to which the conservative instinct is attuned?
Why is the commitment not to imbibe alcohol worthy of protection under the law, but not the conservative tradition of social concern and action which is rooted in the historic Christian faith?
How can the environment, animal rights, fashion and matters of eating and drinking be more important than one’s theo-political worldview?
We have now reached the point of religious relativism where the Hunt Saboteur’s Handbook is equivalent to the King James Bible.
There is little now to stop animal rights activists applying for employment in laboratories that conduct animal experimentation, and pleading discrimination if they are rejected or dismissed. Once these laboratories are forcibly shut down, the animal rights activists will turn to the halal and kosher butchers. There is now a three-way race in the burgeoning hierarchy of competing and mutually-exclusive rights.
And then there is the thorny issue of ‘hate speech’:
The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003:
5 (1) For the purposes of these Regulations, a person (‘A’) subjects another person (‘B’) to harassment where, on grounds of religion or belief, A engages in unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of –Almost any conduct against B is caught. It has a chilling effect on free speech.
(a) violating B’s dignity; or
(b) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for B.
The day is surely coming when one may surely be prosecuted under the statutory instrument prohibiting incitement to ‘religious hatred’, for being Environmentalistophobic or Animal-Rightsophobic.
O, what a dog’s breakfast New Labour have bequeathed.