The Brits have shown us the way – or at least, one Brit has – in recent days.
No, not the England soccer team obviously.
The lesson in this case comes from a judge able to admit she was wrong (or may have been wrong) when she condemned a Christian couple for turning away gay guests from their hotel.
More important, this judge has invited an audience of legal luminaries in Ireland to have another think about matters of conscience and the protection of our rights in an awfully PC modern world.
The Daily Mail reports on it here.
Supreme Court deputy president Baroness Hale called for a rethink on religious and gay rights six months after she rejected the B&B owners’ arguments in a key test case.
Lady Hale said in a speech that the law has done too little to protect the beliefs of Christians. And she cast doubts over her own judgment in the landmark case in which a gay couple sued Christian hoteliers Peter and Hazelmary Bull.
This Bull bloke, roughly of Alf’s vintage at the age of 74, and his 70-year-old wife had refused a double room at their Cornish hotel to Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall in 2008 because they were not a married heterosexual couple.
This does not seem extraordinary to Alf. If it were the Grumbles’ hotel, he would like to think they could be very choosy about the guests they accommodated. Greenies and Pinkos could try somewhere else and the same goes for any unmarried couple who might want to use the room for hanky-panky of the sort that should not be countenanced by good God-fearing people.
But in this case the unmarried couple happened to be a pair of poofs and the incident led to a string of court cases, which culminated in defeat for the Bulls at the Supreme Court.
That’s where the aforementioned Lady Hale along with four other judges comes into the picture.
They ruled that the rights of the gay couple outweighed the conscience of the Christian couple.
Lady Hale declared in her Supreme Court ruling that we should be ‘slow to accept’ the right of Christians to discriminate against gay people.
Then she had second thoughts, and
…in March she acknowledged that the laws which ignore Christian consciences might not be ‘sustainable’.
Next thing we know…
Last week, in a highly unusual move, Lady Hale and her fellow judges ordered that the Bulls will not be liable for legal costs – a decision which spares them a huge bill which would pay for the lawyers who represented Mr Preddy and Mr Hall.
And in a speech to Irish lawyers yesterday she gave an indication that her judgment against the Bulls may have been too harsh, asking whether courts would be better off taking a ‘more nuanced approach’.
Lady Hale – good for her – suggested the law should develop a ‘conscience clause’ for Christians like the Bulls.
She said: ‘I am not sure our law has found a reasonable accommodation of all these different strands’, adding: ‘An example of treatment which Christians may feel to be unfair is the recent case of Bull v Hall. Should we be developing an explicit requirement upon providers of employment, goods and services to make reasonable accommodation for the manifestation of religious beliefs?’
If Alf went into a Jewish butchery he would not expect to be able to demand a kilo of bacon or pork chops.
And if he went into a Moslem supermarket he would not be asking for directions to the the booze section.
Nor would he go squawking to the bloody Human Rights Commission when he found those good were not being offered in either establishment.
Oh – and talking about the erosion of rights – if Alf wanted to drop the N word into conversation or recite eenie meenie minie mo the way it was taught to him many decades ago…
Then, dammit, he should be able to do so without having to beg for viewers’ forgiveness, as that Clarkson tosser did recently
… after he appeared to use the N-word during filming of his BBC programme Top Gear.
In a video statement posted online on Thursday, he said that he had tried to obscure the word when reciting the ‘eeny, meeny, miny, moe’ nursery rhyme to choose between two cars, but that his efforts to do so “weren’t quite good enough”.
A much more egregious case – bearing in mind the BBC’s comparatively generous handling of the Clarkson case – was its sacking of a radio DJ for innocently playing a song, oblivious to the fact it happened to have the N word in its lyrics.
The people at Reuters included the naughty word in its account of what happened but prefaced its report with a warning for the faint-hearted: “This story contains crude language in paragraph 2”.
The BBC was criticised on Monday by Prime Minister David Cameron for over-reacting when it sacked a radio DJ for playing an 82-year-old song that contained the same racist word that embroiled a top TV presenter in a national scandal just days ago.
BBC Radio Devon DJ David Lowe, 68, lost his job when a listener complained after he played a 1932 version of the song “The Sun Has Got His Hat on” which included the word “nigger”.
Lowe, a broadcaster for 32 years, said he had not realised that the old version of the song contained the word and he offered to issue an on-air apology but instead lost his job
The same nonsense happens in this country, alas.
Splendid citizens like Murray Deaker (see here) have been widely ostracised for it and it presented problems in Sir Peter Jackson’s remake of The Dambusters because the canine pet of RAF squadron leader Guy Gibson was called…
No, Alf won’t say it, because (as Michael Laws pointed out at the time of fuss):
The word is worse, according to the Broadcasting Standards Authority, than almost all Anglo-Saxon curses and swear words. It is a word that upsets the most powerful nation on the planet. Even words that sound like it cause offence. University campuses have faced student strikes after lecturers described inadequate responses as “niggardly
Mind you, if you are an indigenous person and say it you will find it is simply accepted as a Honeism. But that’s got something to do with the way this PC thing works, too.