Wednesday, 13 July 2011
The EHRC has decided that, on the victimhood scales, 'believers' outweigh gays.
Judges have interpreted the law too narrowly in religion or belief discrimination claims, the Commission has said in its application to intervene in four cases at the European Court of Human Rights all involving religious discrimination in the workplace.

If given leave to intervene, the Commission will argue that the way existing human rights and equality law has been interpreted by judges is insufficient to protect freedom of religion or belief.

It will say that the courts have set the bar too high for someone to prove that they have been discriminated against because of their religion or belief; and that it is possible to accommodate expression of religion alongside the rights of people who are not religious and the needs of businesses.

The Guardian has an article today complaining about it. the commission will champion the discriminators. It will champion those who choose their minority status – people of faith – over those with no choice over theirs – gay people.

John Wadham, EHRC Legal Director, comments:

Our intervention in these cases would encourage judges to interpret the law more broadly and more clearly to the benefit of people who are religious and those who are not.

The idea of making reasonable adjustments to accommodate a person’s needs has served disability discrimination law well for decades. It seems reasonable that a similar concept could be adopted to allow someone to manifest their religious beliefs.

Is it not disturbing that the fundamental freedoms of a British citizen may be determined not by the text of the laws that are passed in Parliament by the elected representatives of the people, but by a bunch of unaccountable bureaucrats (the EHRC) encouraging another bunch of unaccountable bureaucrats (judges) to interpret the existing texts in a different way? Is this how a democracy is supposed to operate?

Both the EHRC statement and the Guardian article give examples of 'believers' who have allegedly been discriminated against because of their faith, all of whom are either Christians or Jews. No mention of the elephant in the room then.


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