Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Freedom of conscience?

The year that has passed has seen a big squeeze being put on liberty in this country, the thing is that many people don't see it because they aren't being squeezed, or they don't care because at present they agree with the people doing the squeezing.
I want to tell you about a conversation I had that illustrates the problem. I had a meeting with a politician who has voted in favour of same sex marriage, and I wanted to talk about her reasons for being in favour and see what she had to say to the reasons I offered in defence of traditional (creatorial) marriage.

The first thing that was abundantly clear was that she had not read or listened to anything produced by those she disagreed with. She was ignorant of the arguments, statistics and even the basic terminology that those who defend traditional marriage use. This is sadly typical. For all that people accuse those with conservative or traditional views as being closed-minded, and the liberals style themselves as being open-minded, the fact is the reverse is true. Those who are conservative read and listen to the other side and interact with their arguments. Those who are liberal just think those who are traditional have nothing worth listening to - they will not listen to reason or engage with arguments - this is the Fundamentalism they despise so much. So this politician was prepared to radically redefine society's most basic and fundamental institution without researching why in the history of humanity no other society had ever done it before!

Anyway, we got talking about the Asher's case, which I wrote about here, and she said that decorating a cake doesn't signify approval, and I pointed out that, to those who were being asked to do it, it did signify that, and they didn't want a part of it - if her conscience allows her to decorate a cake with a message she disagrees with then she is free to do that, but is freedom of conscience only allowed if it matches her convictions?

I asked her if they would be obliged to decorate a cake with an anti-Semitic slogan or a racist slogan. She said that we have laws against such things - so there you have it, you are allowed to act on your conscience so long as those in power have passed a law in agreement. You need their permission! North Korea grants that freedom - the freedom to agree with the government! Freedom of conscience means you do not have to do what someone else wants you to do if it goes against your convictions, regardless of whether there is a law passed on that subject or not! I mean, would a baker be obliged to adorn a cake with racist slogan until the parliament passed a law on the subject? Does parliament define what's right and wrong?

If God is shut out of a society then, so long as that society still wants law, those in power take that role of defining (not defending or upholding, but actually defining) what is right and wrong. Those who pass laws need to remember that they aren't just responsible to an electorate before whom they stand every few years, they are responsible to God before whom they will stand on Judgment Day.