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Christians more militant than Muslims, says Government's equalities boss - Comments

Michael Austin's Avatar Comment 1 by Michael Austin

I don't think that Richard is a polemic. He seems to love the reality and magic of the real world, rather than only criticize the negatives in the religious fantasy.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 07:03:55 UTC | #640292

Munski's Avatar Comment 2 by Munski

Hard to say. This issue keeps coming up in different forms, for men and women in different non-Christian faiths such as Islamic and Sikh. The girl in this story, at 15, is clearly well-indoctrinated into thinking she should have the 'freedom' to wear the hijab, but when one looks at differing accounts of the women interviewed in the Iranian soccer team that were banned for having the same problem, it wasn't as universally held that it was a 'loss of freedom' . . . in fact, some that were interviewed say they didn't have a choice but to wear what Iranian law religious law told them to wear.

After all, we went through this all in a public school system with prayer, with sports and wearing jewellry such as crosses or earings, and with pictures of Jesus in class. Now, it seems we're destined to go through it again as new faiths start making demands and forcing concessions based on things that, though traditional, do tend to be ironic in the misogynistic origins of those man-made traditions.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 07:08:00 UTC | #640293

Karen Hill Anton's Avatar Comment 3 by Karen Hill Anton

I guess they don't call Richard "the most dangerous man in Britain" for nothing -- just ask Mr Philiips! Seriously, I wonder whether his portrayal of RD could be called libel ... and even if it isn't, it is certainly shameful -- not to mention woefully ignorant of what Richard says, writes, and stands for.

Karen

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 07:10:18 UTC | #640295

Ivan The Not So Bad's Avatar Comment 4 by Ivan The Not So Bad

Amongst so much confusion, I pick out one particular point.

From the article:

...faith groups should be free from interference in their own affairs, meaning churches should be allowed to block women and homosexuals from being priests and bishops.

And yet the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, took enforcement proceedings proceedings (rightly) against the British National Party for breaches of equality laws in respect of their membership criteria.

So why does the head of the EQUALITIES and Human Rights Commission believe that religious groups are more equal than women and gay people and can gain exemptions from the law that no other groups can?

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 07:24:12 UTC | #640299

foundationist's Avatar Comment 5 by foundationist

A few good points, but on the whole this statement is disgraceful. My favorite quote was:

"The law doesn't dictate their organisation internally, in the way they appoint their ministers and bishops for example," he said.

"It's perfectly fair that you can't be a Roman Catholic priest unless you're a man. It seems right that the reach of anti-discriminatory law should stop at the door of the church or mosque.

Any other doors that have the power to stop anti-discriminatory law? Any other laws that have to stop at certain doors? Should fraud or theft be legal in religous gatherings? No, of course not, even Mr. Phillips would never suggest that. But it seems that anti-discriminatory law is not as important to Mr. Phillips as other laws, discrimination not really a crime like the others. That´s a somewhat unusual stance for the Chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 07:25:29 UTC | #640301

-TheCodeCrack-'s Avatar Comment 6 by -TheCodeCrack-

The head of the Government's equality watchdog supports the right of all groups to carry out inequality!

said faith groups should be free from interference in their own affairs, meaning churches should be allowed to block women and homosexuals from being priests and bishops

Idiot!

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 07:30:12 UTC | #640302

TrickyDicky's Avatar Comment 7 by TrickyDicky

Comment 4 by Ivan The Not So Bad :

Amongst so much confusion, I pick out one particular point.

From the article:

...faith groups should be free from interference in their own affairs, meaning churches should be allowed to block women and homosexuals from being priests and bishops.

And yet the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, took enforcement proceedings proceedings (rightly) against the British National Party for breaches of equality laws in respect of their membership criteria.

So why does the head of the EQUALITIES and Human Rights Commission believe that religious groups are more equal than women and gay people and can gain exemptions from the law that no other groups can?

I note he didn't mention blocking the decendants of Ham!

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 07:46:17 UTC | #640306

Teg's Avatar Comment 8 by Teg

Comment 3 by Karen Hill Anton :

I guess they don't call Richard "the most dangerous man in Britain" for nothing -- just ask Mr Philiips! Seriously, I wonder whether his portrayal of RD could be called libel ... and even if it isn't, it is certainly shameful -- not to mention woefully ignorant of what Richard says, writes, and stands for.

I have a hunch he'll be wearing it as a badge of honour (and making fun of them for their usual pandering to the PoFs).

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 07:46:20 UTC | #640307

Teg's Avatar Comment 9 by Teg

Comment 6 by -TheCodeCrack- :

The head of the Government's equality watchdog supports the right of all groups to carry out inequality!

Not all, only "faith groups."

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 07:48:46 UTC | #640309

-TheCodeCrack-'s Avatar Comment 10 by -TheCodeCrack-

Comment 9 by Teg :

Comment 6 by -TheCodeCrack- :

The head of the Government's equality watchdog supports the right of all groups to carry out inequality!

Not all, only "faith groups."

haha, good call.

So he unequally singles out faith-groups for the right to carry-out inequality!?!

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 07:55:02 UTC | #640314

GalacticAtom's Avatar Comment 11 by GalacticAtom

Mr Phillips fails to mention that it is also fashionable for religion to attack and villify atheism and secularism, if "fashionable" is a word that can be used for a centuries-old habit. It was not an atheist who accused believers of being "not fully human", for example - that was said by the former Archbishop of Westminster about atheists.

How on Earth is religion being "driven underground" when it is being guaranteed seats in the legislature for their own nominees (something which no other social group or organization enjoys), being given more and more schools to run and being given bigger roles, with more taxpayers' money, in Mr Cameron's "Big Society"?

As for "faith groups should be free from interference in their own affairs" : Every group, "community" or organization should be free from interference provided they stay within the law; but nobody should have the right to privileged exemptions from laws which enforce the fundamental principles of human rights, liberties and equality.

I am sure that Mr Phillips doesn't really believe that churches should be unconditionally free from interference. If a church had a doctrine which demanded human sacrifice or sex with children, I am sure that he would be as keen as anyone to see the law step in prevent the doctrine being practised! Discrimination is (or should be) illegal because, by modern moral standards, it is wrong (just as child abuse and murder are wrong). So, having presumably accepted the right of the law to interfere to prevent wrong-doing, Mr Phillips needs to explain why certain sorts of wrong-doing should be allowable for certain, self-appointed, groups while being denied to the rest of us. That an Equalities and Human Rights Commissioner, of all people, should attempt to defend such inequality in the enforcement of human rights, is outrageous.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 07:57:59 UTC | #640315

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 12 by Cartomancer

Phillips ... also defended the right of religious institutions to be free from Government interference.

The Church of England is under pressure to allow openly gay clergy to be made bishops, while the Catholic Church only permits men to be priests, but the head of the Government-funded equalities watchdog said they are entitled to rule on their own affairs.

...

"I'm not keen on the idea of a church run by the state.

Does he not realise that the one is already run by the British state and the other by a tinpot medieval fiefdom in the middle of Italy? To the tune of millions of tax-exempt pounds every year?

"I don't think the law should run to telling churches how they should conduct their own affairs."

Why on earth not? It runs to telling all the other snake-oil businesses, hobby groups, political pressure groups and publishers of fantasy literature how to run theirs. If the British Association of Homeopaths, the British Scrabble Society, the TUC and Tolkien Enterprises have to abide by our equality and anti-discrimination laws then why on earth should the church of england be immune?

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 08:02:32 UTC | #640318

cha99kep's Avatar Comment 13 by cha99kep

I feel sick having just read this article. I can’t believe what he said, especially from the head of the Government’s equality watchdog.

Mr. Phillips, expressed concern over the rise in Britain of anti-religious voices, such as Richard Dawkins, who are intolerant of people of faith.

Richard Dawkins is typical of an ordinary atheist/agnostic person such as myself “who are intolerant of people of faith”. I get along with people of faith just fine and treat them with respect as I do any other person. This comment is wholly offensive and expresses how the religious and religious apologists try to dampen the voices of reason.

It seems right that the reach of anti-discriminatory law should stop at the door of the church or mosque.

Anti-discrimination should stop at the church’s door! WHAT! I’m very sure that it does! but for this person to have those views, WELL what can I say, disgusting, distressing, disturbing, I could go on all day!

Mr. Phillips, who recently and fairly got criticized by race organisation’s for calling to an end for the term “institutional racism” is a Salvationist from a strong Christian background so I guess I understand why he says what he does but it is unfortunate that such an intolerant person should hold the position he does and what a waste of the £70 million of public money this organisation receives.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 08:27:25 UTC | #640324

josephor's Avatar Comment 14 by josephor

Muslims are integrating into British society better than many Christians, according to the head of the Government's equality watchdog.

The article is a waste of space in fact that whole "news" paper is a waste of space. The whole discussion of which religious superstition is most compatible with society is ridiculous.Most of this mumbo-jumbo bullshit from the irritating kum ba yah singers to lethal suicide bombing scum are supporters of totalitarian systems based upon rantings of primitive peoples. The bible and Koran are indeed valuable writings and should serve civilization, not as an example to follow but as a warning of how religion poisons everything.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 08:43:05 UTC | #640329

msloane's Avatar Comment 15 by msloane

Government shouldn't interfere with the internal working of the churches ? Why? I'm sure if the large corporations discriminated on sexual grounds, there would be hell to pay. Sounds as if you Brits are a long way off from stopping taxes going to non-charity religious activities. Does this also mean that pedophilia in the RC church will remain outside the government's purview ? What a Plonker !

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 08:43:33 UTC | #640330

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 16 by Vorlund

A case of the kettle calling the pot black ass.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 08:47:37 UTC | #640331

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 17 by Jos Gibbons

584 Comments. Wow.

Christians are more militant than Muslims, says Government's equalities boss; Muslims are integrating into British society better than many Christians, according to the head of the Government's equality watchdog.

Oh, this is brilliant! Our concerns about terrorism, FGM, anti–Semitism and various other problems we face in the UK due to Islamic extremism notwithstanding, British Muslims are easily and unfairly made scapegoats. Virtually every attempt to deny people their legal rights in recent years which has had a religious origin has had a Christian origin, not a Muslim one. And I’d like to congratulate Phillips also on not assuming integration has to be about keeping with what has always been the case. After all, the reply to his judgement of Christians here will surely be: “Not integrating? But, we’re the ones you have to agree with to COUNT as integrating! I mean, we’re the ones who were here first and everything! What next, are white people not integrating enough?” But as Phillips has realised, what is important is not that the immigrants we’ve had since c. 1950 fit in with the Britain of that era, but that we all fit in with the Britain of today. A Britain which feels guilty about what happened to Alan Turing, a Britain which lets gays not–quite–marry (there’s a lot in a name), a Britain which has had two outspoken atheists in a row in charge of Doctor Who, the first of whom had Richard Dawkins as a guest star on the show for basically that reason.

Sadly, his rationality doesn’t last.

[Phillips] expressed concern that people of faith are "under siege" from atheists whom he accused of attempting to "drive religion underground". He said the Commission wants to protect Christians and Muslims from discrimination.

Hold on a second. If all these Christian complaints about discrimination have been dishonest, what discrimination have they been suffering from? Also, what about protecting atheists from discrimination? Like how they have only once in the entire history of Thought for the Day been allowed to offer their opinions on morality. That one lucky atheist was a token, nothing more. What about the continual hip–joining of religion and ethics in all government policy?

Phillips “warned”

it had become "fashionable" to attack and mock religion, singling out atheist polemicist Richard Dawkins for his views

It’s been fashionable to attack and mock every political view that exists since the eighteenth century at least. Is that a problem? And if it’s all about Dawkins (which in the Telegraph’s article is a hyperlink to their page about him) – and with these moaners, it is literally always about Dawkins – just how fashionable is it? And why is it only atheists who are automatically labelled polemicists? Is Rowan Williams a Christian polemicist?

some religious groups have been the victims of rising discrimination over the last decade.

I assume the report said which ones; I wish the Telegraph had said which.

Phillips spoke after a series of high-profile cases which have featured Christians claiming they have been discriminated against because of their beliefs, with a doctor currently fighting a reprimand from the General Medical Council for sharing his faith with a patient.

Typical Telegraph dishonesty. The doctor was an incessant, rabid proselytiser, seeking to convert the patient in question.

he expressed concern that many cases were driven by fundamentalist Christians who are holding increasing sway over the mainstream churches because of the influence of African and Caribbean immigrants with "intolerant" views.

Such groups are sometimes accused in particular contexts, such as the reaction in Florida to Proposition 8, of being quite intolerant of other groups, however ironic this makes their own historical struggles. Regardless of how much or little truth there is in these arguments, it is good to see Phillips is sufficiently unbiased to be concerned about possible intolerances from fellow black Britons. But how much truth is there in the concerns he has? I’m not enough of an expert to say. But while I do recall at least one example of these ridiculous Christian cases coming from a black source – there was a couple who have adopted many children and have been the subject of a controversy regarding both what they should be teaching these children about homosexuality and how much a social worker should have been asking about that in the first place – pretty much all the cases I’ve heard of were white. Like the magistrate who wouldn’t counsel gay couples, or the flight attendant who wanted to wear a crucifix and make anti–Semitic comments (among other things) while working.

Muslims are less vociferous because they are trying to integrate into British "liberal democracy", he said.

I’m actually not sure how true this is. I went to a school where half the students were children of Muslim parents. For seven years I met enough of them to know there are plenty of decent chaps amongst them. (It was an all boys’ school, but my experience with students from the all girls’ school next door, e.g. on buses to and from school and in the mixed Sixth Form, gave me the impression the children of Muslim parents amongst them were in turn decent ... what is the female version of chap?) How far they agreed with democracy I am not sure. We do know the percentage of British Muslims with horrendous views is very high indeed, though not usually a majority. (There are some exceptions: apparently they are all homophobes, and in that sense are less in line with liberalism than either British Christians or French Muslims.) How elected is the British Council of Muslims? Having said all that, while I don’t know if I can agree with the stuff from “because” onwards, it does seem that British Muslims are less vociferous than their Christian counterparts. I just have my doubts regarding the explanation of this which Phillips advances.

Muslim communities in this country are doing their damnedest to try to come to terms with their neighbours to try to integrate and they're doing their best to try to develop an idea of Islam that is compatible with living in a modern liberal democracy.

Are they though? Some have a worse command of English as third generation Britons than do Poles who have been here briefly. Something like a third of them would like blasphemy against Islam to be criminalised, or sympathise with at least some acts of Islamic terrorism. According to a study of 500 British Muslims, literally all of them oppose homosexuality.

Senior clergy have attacked equality laws for eroding Christianity

These images spring to mind.

Phillips, who is a Salvationist from a strong Christian background, expressed concern over the rise in Britain of anti-religious voices, such as Richard Dawkins, who are intolerant of people of faith.

I'm not keen on the idea of a church run by the state.

Should we then disestablish the Church of England? Oh, please recommend it!

And now we finish with good old–fashioned Torygraph nonsense.

Phillips was criticised for his £110,000 salary

He can’t help what the job he got pays, can he? Would you rather he had not applied for it? Because this nonsense could have been used against whoever ended up doing it? Maybe the real target of criticism here should be whoever sets the salary level. Or maybe a job like this warrants that kind of dough; I’m not sure.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 08:48:44 UTC | #640333

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 18 by Stafford Gordon

I suppose that non religious people should really keep quiet; they shouldn't question the fundamental truths about life, which are known only by the faithful, and without which it's impossible to be good.

Oh! I feel so worthless.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 08:49:24 UTC | #640334

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 19 by Stafford Gordon

I suppose that non religious people should really keep quiet; they shouldn't question the fundamental truths about life, which are known only by the faithful, and without which it's impossible to be good.

Oh! I feel so worthless.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 08:50:49 UTC | #640335

Drosera's Avatar Comment 20 by Drosera

However, Mr Phillips, who is a Salvationist from a strong Christian background, expressed concern over the rise in Britain of anti-religious voices, such as Richard Dawkins, who are intolerant of people of faith. "I understand why a lot of people in faith groups feel a bit under siege," he said. "There's no question that there is more anti-religion noise in Britain. "There's a great deal of polemic which is anti-religious, which is quite fashionable."

Aren't atheists entitled to free speech? This guy is in the Salvation Army, he should be hanging around on the high street wearing a silly uniform. Who gave this idiot a position as 'equality watchdog'? Why not scrap his whole institution and use the money for a serious campaign against female genital mutilation and other blessings of religion?

There is not enough anti-religious noise. Not nearly enough.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 09:02:23 UTC | #640337

chrgodskesen's Avatar Comment 21 by chrgodskesen

How the hell can a Salvationist be put in charge of the Equality and Human Rights Commission? That faith has a mean streak of homophobia and anti-abortionism! I wouldn't trust that guy to ensure equality for a second.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 09:11:58 UTC | #640341

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 22 by Stevehill

Mr Phillips spoke after a series of high-profile cases which have featured Christians claiming they have been discriminated against because of their beliefs, with a doctor currently fighting a reprimand from the General Medical Council for sharing his faith with a patient.

Too bloody right. If I'm seriously ill and bed-bound, any medic who starts preaching at me is very shortly going to become my ex-doctor!

"I'm not keen on the idea of a church run by the state. I don't think the law should run to telling churches how they should conduct their own affairs."

Great! Head of Equalities and Human Rights Commission calls for Church of England to be disestablished!

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 09:21:40 UTC | #640344

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 23 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 09:35:01 UTC | #640346

Roedy's Avatar Comment 24 by Roedy

A couple of times I have seen Muslims standing on the street corner handing out pamphlets on Islam. In contrast Christians (Mormons and JWs) were like Dagwood Bumstead's door to door salesmen in how much of a pest they made themselves coming to the door. I developed a number of theatrical defences. Now, I live in a different city in a apartment. They don't come around any more.

There was one point in my life when I had not enough money for fuel or food and freezing in my little cabin. Some Jehovah's witnesses would invite me to dinner and debate once a week. We both came out ahead -- a got a delicious meal and a warm fire. They got the brownie points for prosletysing. It was all very civil. We came to genuinely like each other. It was quite peculiar debating them. They had not-very-convincing canned answers for everything. They felt they won every debate when they could recall the official response for each point I raised. There was some official group that composed these responses that they seemed to consider as a much higher authority that the bible itself.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 09:35:18 UTC | #640347

Vaal's Avatar Comment 25 by Vaal

warned it had become "fashionable" to attack and mock religion, singling out atheist polemicist Richard Dawkins for his views;

If there was anything that was ripe for satire and mockery, it is the nonsense that is religion. I wonder if he says the same about Dave Allen, or Rowan Atkinson? Yes, if anything, RD has challenged, quite correctly, the notion that religion should go unchallenged. Religion does not deserve automatic respect and obeisance, when it interferes in our schools, when it teaches ignorance, where it demands everybody respects intolerance in the name of their anachronistic non-existent immoral deity. I will attack religion vigorously and with no quarter whenever it sticks its head above the parapet and parrots its absurd creeds, regardless of its crass and infantile baying of persecution.

It is beyond satire that a representative of the government’s equality watchdog should be calling for bigotry, so long as it is your religion. The man should be dismissed as an incompetent.

Now, whatever you can say about the Anglican Church, I think that subscribing it as more militant than Islam’s pugnacious, disgusting and discriminatory doctrines is stretching credulity to breaking-point. I don’t recall the Archbishop of Canterbury calling for people leaving the church to be murdered, as apostates. I don’t recall Anglicans on the street calling for infidels to be beheaded for insulting their odious prophet, or sketching Jesus. In fact, Mr Phillips, I think you will find that RD has always said that he is fond of the tea-and-biscuits culture and warmness of the Anglican Church, and respects Dr Rowan Williams, while profoundly disagreeing with him.

The rotting corpse of the Catholic Church is another matter. An evil organisation that is more concerned about its image than the children whose lives have been destroyed by paedophile priests, where there is evidence that the “infallible” head of the organisation is complicit in the cover-up of its own criminality.

Perhaps, Mr Phillips, you believe atheists and secularists should be discriminated against, as GalactimAtom commented on the vilification of atheists by certain Church leaders. Being described as Nazi’s and inhuman is par for the course for Darth Ratzinger and his ilk. Does that make them and you racist and Athiestphobes? Even though it is a nonsense word, have a think about it.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 09:44:12 UTC | #640352

Net's Avatar Comment 26 by Net

i thought that it was not so much about being anti religious as being against the inordinate influence that religion exerts on society, and against the advantages it enjoys such as its tax-free status.

as for muslims struggling to integrate, this is the first i've heard of it.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 10:09:58 UTC | #640361

Metamag's Avatar Comment 27 by Metamag

faith are "under siege" from atheists whom he accused of attempting to "drive religion underground".

Why exactly should demonstrable institutionalized irrationality like religion not be driven underground?

What a clueless fuckwit..

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 10:12:38 UTC | #640363

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 28 by MilitantNonStampCollector

warned it had become "fashionable" to attack and mock religion


What? Because the fashionable mocking of ideas is a terrible thing and we must be warned about it. Oh no! Society will descend into anarchy if we start mocking ideas.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 10:30:31 UTC | #640371

William33's Avatar Comment 29 by William33

The problem is that when I have a position, I will state my reasons for why I decided on this position and individuals will be able to look at those reasons and either agree or disagree. They'd also have a chance to explain why it is I am wrong.

In a person decided on a position because their holy books says so or purely on 'faith' then why can others including atheists attack them on their very poor reasons?

The moment a person brings their religion into the public sphere then it should be fair game.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 10:35:58 UTC | #640373

Ivan The Not So Bad's Avatar Comment 30 by Ivan The Not So Bad

The Telegraph have now put the full Trevor Phillips interview up on their website:

Equalities and Human Rights Commission Will Stand Up for Believers

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 10:53:04 UTC | #640377