‘Conscience clause’ has no place in a civilised society
I DON’T know whether it’s good or bad but I am old enough to remember – albeit with a measure of shame that I belonged to the same generation – the days when it was commonplace, certainly in the United Kingdom, to see signs outside places with rooms to let saying ‘no blacks, no Irish, no dogs’ and, sadly, usually in that order.
I can recall being shown them by my mother on one of the two holidays we took as a family during my schooldays and can recall also being told that if I ever gave her reason to think that I shared those views then she would ‘tan me black and blue’ – a euphemism you don’t hear these days for giving me the hiding of my life.
My mother’s comments were, in those days, very much against the flow of the tide, so to speak, and I doubt that her father would have agreed with them, not that it would have bothered her.
I can only assume that it was the fact that she was a nurse before she married the old man and that perhaps it influenced her thinking about things like equality. Whatever the cause, I will be forever grateful that she influenced my own outlook on life to the extent that I grew up to loathe discrimination, no matter what form it takes.
That’s why I can’t get my head around this proposed ‘conscience clause’ in the planned marriage law revision. Allegedly, and to put it in its simplest terms, it will avoid litigation on the grounds of discrimination if, for example, a company providing a service associated with weddings declines to provide it to a couple who are of the same sex.
Sticking my head above the parapet, this bolshie little crapaud believes it’s not a conscience clause at all – it is simply an excuse for those who oppose same-sex relationships, never mind marriage, to have a vehicle on which they can continue to spew out their often nasty but invariably bigoted view on homosexuality.
It always strikes me as typically ironic that those expressing this view usually do so on so-called religious grounds. I have never made any secret of the fact that I’m what many would call a non-believer. I live my life to a simple creed – if I can’t do someone a favour then I make damn sure I don’t do them any harm.
Unlike some of those who are fond of quoting the Bible to me when criticising my stance on religion, I’ve actually read the book from cover to cover, albeit very many years ago, and if there is one word which seems to me to provide a perfect description of what the Bible is about then that word is ‘love’.
It never ceases to surprise me how those who continually sit in judgment on their fellow men and women – despite their teachings telling them not to be judgmental – can profess to follow the Bible’s message yet deny certain people the right to love in the fullest sense of the word simply because that love is directed at someone of the same sex.
As I said earlier, this isn’t a conscience clause, it’s a ‘get out of jail free’ card for bigots and as such deserves to be binned, for it has no place in a civilised society.
I DOUBT that any motoring offence has received so much publicity in recent months – along with promises from the Magistrate and her apprentices that licence suspensions are on their Christmas present list all year round – than driving while holding a mobile phone, yet there remain some pretty stupid drivers who clearly think they’re above the law.
Sadly, I didn’t get the number of a large and fully laden lorry which I saw being driven along a road in St Saviour last week. We were at either side of a crossroads and I signalled for him to go first. It was as he passed in front of me that I noticed that not only did he have his phone clamped to his right ear – and was holding it with his left hand – but he was also carrying out an equally dangerous, not to mention stupid, practice of using the heel of his other hand to steer the truck. As I say, I very much regret that I was unable to get his number.
AND finally… I see it’s not only the Big House with the ‘do nothing’ disease. St Mary’s has got it too.