Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Should the morals of doctors impact their patients?

October 8, 2008

Abortion bill’s rights ‘breach’

You’ll find a link to a petition at the end of this article. This is a plea to offer women in Northern Ireland the same rights available to those in the UK. If you are a UK citizen, please consider reading and signing if you agree with it.

Catholic groups in Australia have recently issue threats to withdraw their medical services, and most recently claimed a bill requiring doctors unwilling to perform abortions to refer to a doctor willing to carry out the procedure is a breach of their human rights.

Catholics have the fingers in a lot of pies around the world. They run quite a few services, such as schools an hospitals, and they receive government funding or subsidy, even if just in the form of various tax exemptions.

The question is, should a doctor be able to deny a patient treatment because their own moral compass tells them to do so? The answer to this is a firm no. The doctors aren’t being legally required to carry-out abortions, they are simply having to refer elsewhere.

Why shouldn’t we respect their moral decisions?

Actually we should. Doctors shouldn’t be the blind tools of the state, or any other organisation for that matter. This is an important principle, since to require doctors to always obey the state would be to absolve them of any personal responsibility.

What if the state passes a law requiring that all an undersirable section of society should be sterilised? Doctors are morally required to refuse to carry out such a procedure, but then it’s quite right that they expect to be dismissed from their positions. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, and there’s often a sacrifice to be made.

In the same vein, doctors should not be forced to perform abortions or euthanasia, but they should expect that if the law requires them to do so, they should refuse and be fired.

Doctors offer invaluable advice to their patients, since they have a great deal of education and experience that most patients lack. Abortion is an unpleasant and mentally damaging procedure. No-one in the right mind uses abortion as a substitute for contraception, and it’s silly to claim that legalised abortion somehow makes it desirable. Legalised abortion is the lesser of two evils in many cases. Do you force a woman to carry a baby to term if it’s known that the child is going to be unable to survive outside the womb? What about the case of a rape victim? The mother and the doctor need to discuss this, with the doctor making all options available and offering expert advice, not their own superstitious beliefs. God will not punish you for having an abortion, mainly because God probably doesn’t exist.

Catholic doctors who believe that referring to another doctor for an abortion is a violation of their religion should stand by their convictions, but they should not expect to retain their job. A vegetarian couldn’t train to become a butcher, and then object to handling meat, so why should a doctor be any different?

What happens if doctors are allowed to let their morals guide their patients’ treatment?

Patients will not receive the treatment they deserve. What’s to stop a Jehovah’s witness from refusing to offer blood transfusions to patients? Could a Muslim doctor refuse to treat a female patient?

You could argue that Jehovah’s witnesses and Muslims would go ahead and treat the patient, since the general consenus in their religions may allow for that, but that’s not always true. Even within a single religion, followers do not agree on all aspects of it. Not all Catholics believe that contraception is a sin, but some do. Not all Hindus believe that dalits are entitled to fewer rights, but some do. It’s impossible to agree on the one-true rule, since religion is not a rational thing.

But patients can just go to another doctor

That’s not always possible. Consider small towns, or people who can’t afford to travel across the state or county. What do they do? The same problem is seen in Catholic-run schools. Yes parents can look for alternatives, but what do they do if the alternative is impractical?

Who should have the rights here? The teacher/doctor who is refusing to do their job due to their personal superstitions, or the student/patient who is trying to seek the services that their taxes paid for? Should a police officer chose between the law of the land, or could they decide to enforce Sharia law?

Why should religion be treated any differently?

What if I as a doctor decide one day that germ theory is blasphemy, so I stop offering treatments based on it, and I refuse to refer my patients to a doctor who is a little more sensible than I? I have no religion to back that up, but surely that’s just as valid as the stance that some Catholic doctors wish to take.

What if I don’t like asians? Should I also be free to refuse treating those soulless devils? No, my job is to provide impartial and expert services. If those services should conflict with my moral beliefs, I need to get out of the way and hand over my position to someone who is willing to do the job.

This situation is yet another example of why we shouldn’t farm out these services to religiously motivated groups, unless they can offer their services without strings attached. There should be no such thing as a Catholic hospital, it is simply a hospital.

If churches want to run schools and hospitals according to their own rules, then they should stop applying for funding and tax exemptions. Pay for it themselves, and then decide their own rules. The money could instead be given to organisations willing to offer services in a rational manner that puts the patient first.

Northern Ireland Abortion Rights

Alive again. Ireland’s premier newspaper for paranoid Catholics

May 17, 2007

The latest copy of Alive, the Catholic newspaper has arrived on my doorstep, unsolicited of course. As is usual for this rag, it’s a monthly journey in to paranoia, fundamentalism and a unique interpretation of the truth. There’s a lot to cover so I’ll break this up in to a few posts. Let’s start by looking at a few headlines.

UK: It’s easier to get rid of a spouse then an employee

Shock horror. Divorce is of course against the will of their god but to the rest of us, it’s simply a way to end an unfortunate marriage. Of course it should be easier to get a divorce than to sack someone. I don’t want an employer to be able to simply let me go for no valid reason, and I don’t want to be trapped in a loveless or abusive marriage.

If Catholics want to remain married, even in dire situations, then that is their business. However, marriage from a legal point of view should be treated no differently than any other contract. I personally consider my marriage to be very important, the best thing I ever did, but I don’t need the state to enforce that feeling. If Christianity is real and there are so many Christians in the world, why is divorce so common anong Christians? Most importantly, if they are so bad at being married, why should the state keep them together?

Church leaves field clear for new religion

This is such a poor article that I will present the text and rebuttals to the flimsy points. The article of the text has not been edited, other than being split in to sections. The article was in the “Editor’s Jottings” section. Incidentally, this makes little difference since the whole ‘newspaper’ reads like one long editorial.

The notion that religion is a private matter and that believers should not try to influence the values or laws of society is being pushed by the Secular Ascendancy of Ireland

I’m not sure how to respond to this. I’ve tried to find out what this “Secular Ascendancy of Ireland” is but to no avail. However, I believe they could be referring to the recent Northern Ireland legislation to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. If that is correct then the editor is either lying or just misunderstanding the purpose of the law. There is no attempt to stop believers from influencing the values or laws of society, providing they make a rational and fair argument.

Asking to be able to discriminate against a group in society purely because their god hates gays is neither rational nor fair. Being religious does not automatically turn a piss-poor and offensive request in to a good one.

Public life it says, should be a neutral zone, where people of all religions leave aside their differences and live in harmony. it sounds attractive, especially as it offers peace and maximum freedom to each person.

Hmm, that sounds quite positive. Maybe this is building up to something?

But a closer look reveals that this secularism is, in fact, really another religion, radically hostile to Christianity. And the sham promise of peace and freedom is just a slick way to market it

Yep, I knew there would be a but. Arguing that secularism is a religion is a very old, tired and easily shot-down argument. Russell’s teapot provides a good response.

“If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.”

Secularism is simply the belief that decisions should be made based on facts and reason. When we draft a law, it must be based on fact, reason, evidence and not religious beliefs. If a religious belief happens to be backed up by facts and evidence, i.e. murder should be illegal, then there is no reason why a secular law can’t adopt the same belief as a religion. Are we on equal ground when you claim that this teapot exists and I claim that it doesn’t?

It needs to be unmasked but that is an immense task, as the new faith has soaked in to many areas of Irish life.

Its fundamental belief, often kept hidden, focusses on God. It holds, as dogma, that God does not exist, or if he does he is irrelevant to how we live. This belief, and it is a belief affects everything

The first paragraph is would make McCarthy proud. A giant conspiracy against us decent folk! However, the second paragraph is partially correct. Secularism frankly does not care about gods. I will not lie awake wondering whether or not god exists, if he does I’m sure he’ll let me know. The truth is that gods are irrelevant to the way we live, as a society. Individuals are entitled to their curious beliefs, we all have some strange ones, but society should not be bound by them. Remove this safeguard and it’s bad for religious and non-religious alike. What happens when your government doesn’t support the same god as yourself? A neutral position safeguards us all.

The human being becomes the supreme being. Freedom is reduced to genes. Life loses its meaning. Hope of eternal life is replaced by the culture of despair and death.

Ah, now we get back to the claim that it’s impossible to be happy or moral without the help of the gods. Also, we see the old canard regarding genes and a loss of freewill.

In a secular society, humans do not become the ‘supreme being’. We are simply people. We may be superior in some ways yet sadly deficient in others. The editor may want to ask God why most mammals can produce their own vitamin C internally, yet humans have to consume it in order to maintain normal body function? In that respect, I doff my hat to the dog sitting outside my house because it is superior, at least in the production of vitamin C.

Anyone who truly believes that genes are the be-all and end-all of human behaviour knows nothing about biology. Genes are certainly important but they don’t provide a blueprint for human behaviour. Most of that is picked-up along the way as we grow up. Our experiences shape us. Richard Dawkins provides a good example when he points out that our genes want us to reproduce yet we defy them by wearing condoms. The might power of the gene has been overcome by a thin latex device.

If you need a belief in eternal life to avoid despair then you are missing something important in your life. Secularism isn’t about having no hope for eternity, it’s about facing your life as an adult and accepting reality. The editor could just as well argue that state-sanctioned belief in Santa is necessary to stop us despairing during the winter.

From all this flows a new morality – there is no longer an objective good and evil. Rather, “my right to chose” becomes the supreme value.

This is rather a good thing. Good and evil do tend to be relative. Some consider it evil to enjoy a beer, I do not. That’s the reality of it. I defy anyone to introduce me to someone who is honestly describable as good or evil. We are complicated things. The man who kicks a dog down the street today could be donating blood tomorrow.

The state has no role in determining what is good and what is evil. Debates about good and evil belong in philosphy 101. The state is there to enforce rules regarding what is acceptable for society.

In Ireland The Irish Times is one of the most enthusiastic converts to the new religion, conned perhaps by its shoddy notion of freedom.

From the Times it has spread to the rest of the national media, which have become its leading apostles. But they’re always careful to hide the religious dimension under the cloak of an appeal to “reason”.

The Irish Times is a newspaper, the editor of Alive may wish to buy a copy to see a newspaper operates – useful tips abound. Again, secularism is not a religion. Regards hiding the ‘religious dimension’, that is nonsense. Frankly we don’t care what you believe as long as you don’t try to push your the inane requests of your sky god on to us. Believe if you must that slavery is okay but don’t expect the rest of us to accept that simply because it’s in your holy book. Let me re-iterate that, we do not care about your religion as long as don’t use it to deprive us of our human rights.

And many Catholics have adopted many of its teachings, without perhaps realising how deeply they contradict their Christian beliefs

Obviously the editor has no problems with the contradictions in the Bible.The fact is that society changes. 40 years ago it was acceptable for a good catholic priest to beat the living daylights out of a young boy, but that is no-longer the case. No Christian follows the Bible literally, all are guilty of chosing the parts that they think don’t apply anymore. For example, how many Christians do the following?

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Mark 16:15

This is the word of Jesus yet I see few Catholics drinking poison or magically healing the sick. I’ve seen even fewer Christians casting our demons. Most are just like you and me, people doing what normal people do. Face the fact that Christianity itself is a mess of contradictions. It’s a 2000 year old game of Chinese whispers except this isn’t a harmless game.

The issue is presented as a clash between faith and reason. it is not. It is, rather, a clash between two religions, each appealing to reason, but with secularism clinging to a shrunken, wizened notion of reason.

And with that the article finishes. I’ve already explained why secularism isn’t a religion so I won’t address that again. Let’s look at the claim the Christianity is based on reason while secularism is not.

The claim that Christianity is based on reason is a strange one. Is there a sensible reason why Catholics believe in Transubstantiation – the act of turning bread and wine in to the flesh and blood of their dead saviour? Is there any hint of reason in the claim that there is a sky god who requires our worship and love?

Consider the following claims.

“I believe that we are the product of natural processes. We live, we die and there is no evidence to suggest an eternal life. If proof emerges, I will examine it but for now I see no reason to believe in gods.”

“I believe we were all created by a god and there is a plan for us all. Although life seems to be pretty random and no-one has ever seen this god or any of his helpers, I believe he exists. I believe in Transubstantiation, demons, angels and eternal life for those who love and worship this god. If I pray, I will receive anything I ask for because I have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe!”

One of the above statements is based on reason. The other is a total departure from it, in fact it’s a total retreat in to self-comforting delusion.

Religion is not based on reason, it is based on self-delusion. Self-delusion is not a sound way to run society, imagine if we were all subject to our individual delusions. You would not be allowed to leave a house unless you turn your lights off and on three times due to my belief that the world will end if you fail to complete that ritual. People with brown hair will be banned from cafes because I believe that they bring disease. It’s a pretty horrible world that the editor wants to see.

Novus Spiritus. Is it time to call shennanigans?

May 2, 2007

I’m very slowly working on some research regarding Novus Spiritus – the religion that Sylvia Browne appears to have pulled out of her arse – with the assistance of her curiously inconsistent spirit guide ‘Francine’.

In the mean-time, Robert Lancaster has posted some excellent articles regarding this religion.

When is a diamond not a diamond? When it’s a cubic zirconia sold as a diamond.

From the horse’s mouth – A Novus board member responds.

Control that Scientology would be proud of.

It’s strange that a religion founded by Sylvia Browne could be attracting this kind of controversy. Why hasn’t Francine warned Sylvia?

Happy Birthday to the EU, the Pope is miffed

March 29, 2007

The EU, being a secular organisation, is issuing a 50th birthday statement – failing to mention religion at all.

The Pope is unhappy.

The Pope says..

“If on the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome the governments of the union want to get closer to their citizens, how can they exclude an element as essential to the identity of Europe as Christianity, in which the vast majority of its people continue to identify,”

So, in order to get closer to the citizens of Europe, he’s suggesting that the EU endorse one particular religion that some people in Europe believe in? Statistics in Europe tend to show a downward trend in Christianity. Although many people will mark that as their religion, few attend church, have read the Bible or even follow the most basic rules of Christianity. Ireland has a strong Catholic heritage but if I were to venture out on to the street and ask a few simple questions, I doubt I would get many correct answers.

1) Name the 12 apostles.
2) As well as Jesus, who else rose from the dead when he did?
3) Describe the beast that will be seen in the sky according to revelations?
4) What does Jesus say about paying taxes?

All of these are pretty important if you’re taking Christianity serious. Surely if you believe Jesus to be the son of God, you’d study the texts closely to ensure that you’re following his teachings correctly.

Anyway, the Pope is missing something. Was the European continent always Christian? No it certainly wasn’t. If the statement were to mention Christianity, surely it should pay homage to those fine ‘pagan’ beliefs such as the Norse gods? How about Celtic beliefs?

Christianity has been part of Europe’s history and it continues to affect Europe to this day. However, in a secular society there is no reason why the state (or the EU in this case) should endorse a particular religious belief – particularly when it’s a slap in the face of European citizens who belief in other gods, not to mention the atheists who consider all religion to be superstitious twaddle.

The Pope is perfectly entitled to his delusions, indeed he can throw himself off a bridge to see if his god intervenes if we so wishes. There is no reason we should comfort him by pandering to those delusions.

The fatal power of alternative medicine

March 10, 2007

‘Alternative’ medicine has too often been afforded a status it does not deserve. Consider the following terms

Alternative medicine
Complementary medicine

Alternative medicine is the original name for pseudo-scientific junk like homeopathy. The word alternative suggests that it is something else to try instead of the regular choice. This is dangerous since it suggests that the alternative treatment is actually something you can use instead of the orthodox treatments. This is why the word alternative has fallen out of favour since it has a habit of getting people killed when they forsake conventional treatment for voodoo.

Complementary is a safer word to use since it doesn’t exclude the use of conventional medicine. This is more sustainable since patients can take both convention medicine and complementary medicine yet still get better. Of course, when they get better they can attribute their recovery to rosemary rather than the conventional remedy that their doctor prescribed.

Gambia is unfortunate but their misfortune helps me illustrate a point. Have you noticed that complementary practitioners don’t like being measured? They believe that their cures can’t be tested by conventional methods.

In Gambia, there is a healer who finds himself in the same situation. He claims to have a cure for AIDS yet he is widely derided. When asked to provide an sample of his remedy, his response was “Not in a million years”.

This is the president of Gambia who believes that he can cure AIDS on Thursdays.

In principle he is little different to those practising homeopathy in the west. We have an advantage though, we have education and a functioning health-system. This is why homeopaths tend to moderate their claims since they can be proven wrong when their patients die. In Gambia, they do not have this safety net. People are desperate and will clutch at any straws they are offered.

President Jammeh is falsely claiming to cure AIDS. By doing this, he condemns people to death since he requires them to give up their conventional drugs as part of his treatment regime. As well as the original victims, he leaves more open to infection since his patients believe themselves to be cured and so resume normal sex-lives – thus opening more to infection.

Compare Jammeh to your homeopath. I’m sure neither wish you harm but if Jammeh can take good intentions and use them to cause so much death and misery, ask yourself whether your homeopath would do the same under similar circumstances.

Conservapedia – I reject your reality and substitute my own

March 2, 2007

Tired of Wikipedia’s liberal bias? How about the newly launched Conservapedia. The Conservapedia complains about the liberal bias of wikipedia and to combat this they have created their own biased encyclopaedia. Interesting idea.

The site has a set of rules known as The Commandments (seriously, I’m not joking).

1. Everything you post must be true and verifiable.
2. Always cite and give credit to your sources, even if in the public domain.
3. Edits/new pages must be family-friendly, clean, concise, and without gossip or foul language.
4. When referencing dates based on the approximate birth of Jesus, give appropriate credit for the basis of the date (B.C. or A.D.). “BCE” and “CE” are unacceptable substitutes because they deny the historical basis. See CE.
5. As much as is possible, American spelling of words must be used.[1]
6. Do not post personal opinion on an encyclopedia entry. Opinions can be posted on Talk:pages or on debate or discussion pages.

Most of the Ten Commandments, sorry, The Commandments are pretty sensible. Number four is a bit strange and as you read more of the Conservapedia, you’ll see that they are absolutely obsessed with the usage of BCE and CE as being a terrible threat to Jesus.

Before I go any further, I should point out that I don’t consider Wikipedia to be perfect. I’ve personally contributed to a few articles and made some corrections. I may well have introduced errors of my own which someone else must fix. Most wikipedia articles do show a decent level of balance.

Since Conservapedia is simply a vehicle for the dissemination of extremist right-wing views, let’s start with a topic close to the conservative heart. Creationism.

Wikipedia – Creationism

You’ll notice several differences.

1) The Conservapedia version is remarkably short considering the complexity of the subject.

2) There is no criticism of Creationism, none at all. No mention of the fact that evolutionary theory, geology and physics all provide strong evidence against young earth creationism in particular. Wikipedia provides both sides.

3) A lack of references. While Wikipedia includes an impressive list of sites to visit, from both sides of the debate, Conservapedia provides five links, four of which are pro-creationism.

4) No analysis of the politics of creationism. No mention of the push to have creationism taught in US schools – a deliberate attempt to breach the separation of church and state.

The Conservapedia is going to achieve what it set out to do. It will provide a warm and fuzzy feeling for the fundamentalists who feel that their way of life is being threatened by the liberal conspiracy.

It is true that bias exists in the media but this ‘liberal conspiracy’ simply doesn’t exist. Couid anyone honestly claim that the Guardian and Fox News are pursuing the same agenda?

The reason why there appears to be a liberal bias is because the fundamentalists see their cherished yet irrational and dangerous beliefs being challenged by cold facts and this scares them. When a magazine prints an article about evolution, a theory that is almost universally accepted and proven within the scientific community, it is seen as an attack on their sky god. The conservative Christians will come out in their droves to denounce this shameless un-American atheism.

Conservapedia is aimed at conservatives, with an emphasis on the millions of children who are being home-schooled. I pity these poor sods and moments like this make me understand why Richard Dawkins considers the indoctrination of children to be a form of child abuse. If the deliberate stunting of the intellectual of children and the perpetuation of bronze-age myths as fact isn’t child abuse, I don’t know what is.

For further reading, I suggest you visit the following Conservapedia links. Compare them to their counterparts on Wikipedia and note the Conservapedia’s abuse of hearsay, selective evidence and the assumption that the Christian God of The American People is the one true god.

Democrats
Republicans
Evolution
CE (Enjoy the paranoia)

My apologies to Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame for abusing his quote in the title of this post.

Protecting religious views

February 5, 2007

Normally I tend to believe that religious symbols have no place in schools but here is a cause worth fighting for.

Gillard’s diver

This concerns the tale of a classroom assistant who was given a terrible decision to make. Either he abandons his heart-felt religious convictions or he loses his job.

As a staunch member of The Fraternity of Neptune, he must wear full diving gear and oppose the heretical notion of fishing. Just as Christians leaders in the UK are currently fighting hard for their right to consider gays to be abominations, he cannot in good conscience participate in a classroom containing children of fishing families.

As Ruth Kelly, the staunch Catholic and government minister for Women and Equality, is arguing that Catholics should be allowed to send gays to the back of the bus, I hope she intervenes on behalf of this man.

What kind of society are we living in that allows such terrible discrimination to continue? I personally lost my job as a teacher when I refused to teach Dalits. I mean, how can I teach them when there is a serious danger of their shadows falling on and contaminating me?

Well, I wasn’t really a teacher but it was a very vivid dream.

Accusing children of witchcraft

January 27, 2007

Why would we need a law specifically making it illegal to demonise a child, i.e. accuse them of witchcraft? Seems like a silly idea for a law, kind of like having a law that specifically makes it illegal to kill John on Tuesday.

Who would be mental enough to accuse a child of being a witch? Pastor Dieudonne Tukala would, according to this article article.

The good pastor came to join us from Africa, where the absurdity of Islam and Christianity are multiplied to the power of buffoon. When he came, be brought some habits of the old country with him. A BBC investigation linked him to a case where a father branded his son with a steam iron because he believed him to be a witch. He is reported as telling parents to send their children to Africa so he can pray for them to die.

Police were unable to prosecute because there’s no law against accusing children of being witches and then praying for them to die. Arguably the pastor should be taken care of using the Mental Health Act.

Perhaps the pastor will petition Ruth Kelly to be exempted from laws forbidding murder? After all, we can’t allow the right to superstition and violence to be trampled by human rights.

Scarlett Johansson. Harlot or role-model?

January 25, 2007

Alive, the Catholic newspaper has arrived on my door step. On the front page they have a picture of Scarlett Johansson, the popular actress. Under the photo, they ask the question Why is she tested for HIV twice a year.

Some people, myself included, applaud someone in the public eye who is drawing attention to responsible behaviour. Remember that HIV doesn’t just affect people who sleep with a new partner every week. You could sleep with someone without realising they have been infected through any one of many routes. A bad blood transfusion or poor sterilisation of medical implements is one example.

Alive doesn’t seem to share this view. They follow the Catholic Church line. Alicve says

Attractive she may be, but it’s doubtful if guys would see a woman with whom they could easily get AIDS as “sexy”.

They are careful to avoid making allegations about her sexual conduct but they seem to be suggesting that she is quite immoral. While criticising her and Siobhan O’Connor, of the Sunday Independent, they ask for people to avoid risky behaviour in the first place, “after all, we are talking about free people, not dogs in heat.”

You see the implied meaning there? Since Alive is conservative Catholic newspaper, I’m assuming that they are suggesting we follow the guidance of the church. i.e. no funny business until you’re married. Which is more sensible?

1) Someone who has a regular AIDs test, tries to be monogamous in a realistic way?

2) No sex until you’re married.

The second is obviously not workable. If there are any Catholics who can meet the following conditions, please post a comment here.

1) You never had sex before marriage
2) Your spouse also never had sex before marriage

I’m not expecting many comments here but I’m willing to be pleasantly surprised. I also invite Catholics who fail at least one of the above conditions to post here.

If you are one of those who fail at least one of the above, how do you feel about AIDs testing. Don’t you agree that it’s a sensible precaution if you or your spouse slept with someone else before they met you? How do you know the person they slept with doesn’t have AIDS?

Is Scarlett’s testing a sensible precaution or is she “far from the kind of example that young women need today”, as Alive thinks.

Three cheers for Lord Falconer

January 23, 2007

Three cheers for Lord Falconer. In the recent battle over equal rights in the UK, he’s shot down the requests from Ruth Kelly to allow Catholics to discriminate against gays. Ruth Kelly may or may not be biased in this request. She is not just a Catholic, she is a ‘super Catholic’ as a member of Opus Dei. Putting her in charge of ensuring equality under the law is like placing Michael Dell in charge of deciding whether or not the government should use Dell computers.

I’m hoping this law and the resistance to exemptions is a turning point for equality in the UK. Catholic organisations have argued that they will shut their orphanages and other ‘charitable’ ventures rather then stop discriminating. This is an excuse for the exemption that has been used by Kelly. If the Catholic Church is allowed such an exemption, I wonder what happens if the a racist group were to found a church open splendid orphanages that refuse to take black babies for ideological reasons?

I’m sure the BNP could use the same excuse that Cardinal Murphy O’Connor used in his letter to Downing Street.

“act against the teaching of the church and their own consciences”

Imagine the storm as Bishop Dave of the Church of The One Pure Race congratulates the government on allowing them to keep their “no blacks, no Irish and no Jews” policy in their orphanages.

Tony Blair could re-use the statement he’s made regarding the Catholic Church.

“The key thing we have to remember in all of this is the interests of the children concerned and that there are arguments on both sides.

Oh but we can’t complain since they do such wonderful work for white kids, well, white kids who come from good aryan stock. Arguments on both sides my arse. These people can’t be allowed to claim to be doing charitable work while blatantly violating rationality and human rights on the other. Better to stop giving money and tax-breaks to the church, just allow the state or secular organisations to take the money instead.