I’M thinking of setting up a religion.There will be rules that I expect all those who adopt my religion to follow. I’ll be sure to include ones that discriminate against other people, even people who aren’t part of my religion, and make sure my religion’s beliefs directly affect those who don’t worship in my church – that’s despite the actions of the non-believers having precisely zero impact on me.
As head of my religion I’ll demand a seat in parliament. I’ll get to influence law-making to ensure legislation is in place to protect my followers.
I’ll make sure my religion’s headquarters has its own special exemptions from employment legislation and discrimination laws, and I’ll probably arrange for a conscience clause. It’ll mean the belief system I’m creating, which will include treating sections of society like second-class citizens, will have proper formal legal protection.
I’ll also, over time, cherry-pick which aspect of the rules and beliefs I demand that my followers obey. Some will see that as inconsistent or hypocritical – they, of course, are wrong.
When those minorities try to challenge my religion’s vast powers, influence and backing in law, I’ll explain that our right to discriminate is simply an expression of our god-given beliefs. Any challenge to my all-powerful religion’s right to discriminate will itself be framed as an attack on my disciples.
I’ll make sure my religion covers up internal wrongdoing – perhaps things like bullying and abuse, maybe even financial impropriety. After all, better we deal with these things internally than have outside agencies, such as the police, interfering.
I’ll ensure that the high standard my religion holds its followers to is not the same high standard my religion’s leaders maintain in private. They’ll enjoy wild parties – a sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll lifestyle when nobody’s watching.
If anyone is found out, I’ll use the riches I’ve accumulated to pay off any would-be whistleblowers. And, over time, I’ll make sure I have influence in the corridors of power, including among the judiciary, to make it difficult for those wanting to speak out to find a voice.
Actually, the more I think about this setting-up-a-religion lark, the more absurd it seems.
After all, politicians wouldn’t let me have a seat in their parliament, would they? Covering up criminal behaviour while presenting myself as an arbiter of morality wouldn’t be possible, would it? And there would be an outcry if my followers received special protection so that they could discriminate against other people in the name of their beliefs, wouldn’t there?
IN other news, States Members will next week be asked to approve an amendment to the marriage law which would allow sole traders to refuse to serve same-sex couples things such as cakes, wedding dresses, transportation and even honeymoons on the grounds that it is incompatible with their beliefs.
It’s part of a shopping list of changes being put forward by Deputy John Le Fondré and his Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel.
There is some interesting wording in his proposals which says that even if your religion supports same-sex marriage, you still don’t have to provide goods or services. In other words, this conscience clause, which is being presented in the name of a religion, is, in practice, nothing of the sort. If approved, it would be States-sanctioned discrimination which could also be used by those who just hate gay people.
Well done, Deputy Le Fondré. How very Christian.
FINALLY, some happy thoughts to finish with. I’m getting married this spring.
And having gone through the process of booking a venue, honeymoon, hotels, outfits, a cake, music and much more besides, I’ve not met a single soul who has so much as batted an eyelid at the thought of two men getting hitched.
From a purely capitalist perspective, all have said that they’re delighted at the prospect of even more couples being able to tie the knot.
In uncertain economic times, allowing loving couples to declare their commitment through a public act of union while cashing in on the ‘pink pound’ seems like a win-win to me!