Your Religious Beliefs Are Yours.

butterfly

I’ve seen some excellent posts over the past couple of weeks since the Supreme Court ruled Yes to same-sex marriage. I have also seen posts where people have talked about their religious beliefs and how these beliefs mean they do not agree with the ruling or the fact that same sex marriage is legal in the USA now.

I’m been ruminating on this some over the past few days and here is my bottom line. We cannot allow the religious beliefs of one (or of many) to = the human law all of us have to abide by and the human rights we should all be entitled to. Because if we do that for any one religion, we might have to do that for all religions.

I don’t know how many Christians want to eventually live under Sharia Law, allowing their daughters to be married off from the age of 9 to *much* older men.. in fact this event has already occurred right here in Australia. Just last Friday a father was sentenced – NSW father found guilty of procuring 12yo daughter as ‘child bride’ is sentenced to six years in jail – and I suspect this is likely occurring quite often here though it will not often be discovered.

So before you want your religious beliefs to become the law of the land..

Take a moment to think – do you want someone elses religious beliefs to become law?

I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion and to their beliefs, religious or otherwise. I also believe that everyone has some basic rights which we should all be entitled to. Those basic rights should include the right for children to have a childhood and an education and to not be married off to older guys because their parents say so and because that is how things are done within their religion.

I believe that nobody should be allowed to impose their religious beliefs on other people who do not hold those same beliefs, and I want to give a very clear – but quite fake – example to try and illustrate this.

My Fake Example

So, let us imagine that there is a large colony of people living in Antarctica. We will call them the Ticans. These people have their own religion which is not well known outside of their country. It relies on a holy book written thousands of years ago. One of the laws of this religion is that you cannot eat beetroot – not cooked, not raw, not any form of beetroot, nor can you eat food that is prepared in the presence of beetroot or in the same room as beetroot.

So, unfortunately for the Ticans, global warming has made it almost impossible to continue living where they presently live. As the closest continent, Australia extends an invitation to all 200,000 Ticans to become Australian citizens. They offer to house the Ticans in Tasmania as it is closest in climate to Antarctica. Because Tasmania has a population of just over half a million people, this is a significant addition to the population.

When they arrive in Australia, they are horrified to find that Beetroot is on the menu. And not just occasionally, but regularly, in all kinds of locations. Fast food places like Mcdonalds and Subway serve beetroot. Beetroot is even found on hamburgers and in sandwiches. The Ticans are horrified!

Business owners in Tasmania discover that the reason Ticans are not visiting their establishments is because of the beetroot. Some of them choose to become “beetroot free” – as in, they remove beetroot from the menu entirely, to try and seek the business of the Ticans. Now the Tasmanians who love beetroot are outraged. How dare these Tican people change the Tasmanian food culture due to their religious beliefs?

Who is in the right here? Would it be ok for the religious beliefs of the few to change how things are done for the entire population?

Perhaps Not So Fake?

While the example I provide here is fake, unfortunately this kind of situation is also something that has happened in Australia. Some KFC outlets removed Bacon from the menu. Halal certification is a huge thing in our country now, and there is even a movement to boycott Halal products.

So why on earth should the people of Australia have to change their menu to suit any religion? At the time of the 2011 census, only 476,000 Australians (representing 2.2 percent of the population) reported Islam as their religion. That is a tiny percentage of people.

Should anyones religious beliefs about pork over-ride the rights of Australians who do not hold those same beliefs and simply want to have bacon on their burger?

Why would anyone expect that their religious beliefs should always = the law of the land?

My parents have been together for over 40 years now. They are married, which means they have full legal rights. If one of them were to become ill, my other parent would be in the best place to know what their marriage partner wants as far as things like life support, organ donation, etc.

That is the reason why I am happy for same sex couples in the USA – that they now have access to those same rights as my parents do. That once they are married, they will never again be locked out of the health decisions of their long term partner, that they will be able to attend the funerals of their loved ones. Now, we just need to make this happen in Australia, too.

Why should heterosexual couples be the only people entitled to those legal rights? Because a book says so? That book says a lot of things that people have decided are outdated and no longer apply.

Over to you

When the “holy book” of a religion is interpreted to mean that children can be married from the age of 9 upwards, shouldn’t we be absolutely horrified by that? Shouldn’t we be utterly determined as human beings to make sure that no such “holy book” can determine the laws of our lands?

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18 thoughts on “Your Religious Beliefs Are Yours.

  1. The consumer would not know the difference between halal and non halal, so there is little point in a boycott. But removing bacon from everyone’s burger is not on. It is purely a business decision and if people miss their bacon, they will go elsewhere, as I would. Vegetarians hold fair sway at times, but we don’t see meat being removed from menus, apart from a few specialised vego restaurants. Options are what people want. I suspect part of the halal issue is that unless a place is specifically halal, customers won’t trust the place to not cross contaminate, and with good reason. It strikes me as odd that another large religious group in Australia that does not eat pork has never been widely catered for Where is the kosher KFC?

  2. Great points and examples. If I ran an eating establishment in a heavily Muslim area, I would probably serve only halal products. It would only make good business sense. Same with kosher in a Jewish area or lots of vegetarian restaurants in Seattle, where many are vegetarians or vegans. Religious law terrifies me.

    • I agree that businesses have to do what is going to make them $$.. the whole eating pork thing is one of those outdated beliefs – back in the olden days you could get really ill from eating it, so that is why a lot of olden day religions forbade it.

      I may not believe in any particular thing, but I do believe in bacon.. ;)

  3. This is a very interesting post! I don’t think any religion has a right to impose it’s beliefs on the uninitiated and I don’t think any religion is “better” than others. Some behaviours, regardless of the religion that endorses it, should not be tolerated- your example of child brides being a really good example.
    I do get tired of hearing about “liberal agendas” as if secular liberals are pushing their beliefs. Allowing same-sex marraige is about recognizing freedoms. It doesn’t take rights AWAY from anyone else!
    By the way, I live in Canada so I actually don’t know. Is gay marraige not recognized in Australia?

    • At this time same sex marriage is not recognised in Australia and the current Prime Minister is not inclined to allow any kind of vote on it in parliament. Polling shows an overwhelming majority of Australians want it to be allowed, but this PM is unmoved by that.

      I’m thinking he’ll be moved once he is voted out, which on current performance all signs point to a resounding walloping in the next election for him, people really dislike him on a deep level in general, but that is balanced out somewhat by the opposition leader being not especially appealing to vote for.

    • Kathy – I admire people with strong beliefs as long as they can live and let live. With that said, I don’t think anyone wants to live and let a 26 year old guy marry a 12 year old, or a 50 year old guy marry a 9 year old, as tends to happen under Sharia law. This is why it is important to have laws of the land which have nothing to do with religious laws. :)

  4. This religious thing has got way out of hand. Years ago, when immigrants arrived in Australia, we got used to them, they got used to us and EVERYONE GOT ALONG. They spoke different languages along with their English, they had different home cultures and different religions and EVERYONE GOT ALONG. They celebrated different holidays, Jewish people didn’t expect kindergartens to forgo Christmas parties, Greek people paraded through the streets to their church to celebrate Easter, small Italian children paraded through the streets to their first communion, everybody watched and admired, EVERYBODY GOT ALONG. In later years Muslims arrived and still, EVERYBODY GOT ALONG. With all of these there may have been a hitch or two along the way, but eventually, EVERYBODY GOT ALONG.
    Now we have these militant fanatic religious sects and this is where the trouble lies. A certain small section has taken part of their religion and decided this is the way it should be. For everyone. This minority are making outrageous demands and governments are bending over backwards to accommodate them instead of sending the bast**** back where they came from. Our governments are weak in this regard. And these religious terrorist sects are taking advantage and recruiting wherever they can to increase their numbers.

    • Everybody got along because they were willing to bring the good stuff with them, and leave the bad stuff back in their old countries. Not so with some of the more recent arrivals, sadly. :/

  5. I agreed with your post hun. (SOrry I have been absent, life has been taking over argh) I believe one thing, you believe another, as long as we can respect the law of the land that we live in, all should be peaceful. Religion and government should not mix. Ever.

    • I just had a dream about you and scuba diving a couple of hours ago.. :) I am going to write a post about it!

      Law of the land is where many people seem to get confused – there is a big difference between law of the land and religious law. :)

  6. Well said. I was a church goer from between ages 5-15, at which point I decided if I *did* want to drink, smoke or fornicate then I bloody well would. Those weren’t actually my plans, but I begrudged being told to keep up to perfect standards by imperfect people. Anyhoo, I have it in for organised religion because of the manner in which they cherry-pick which pieces of their holy book to believe in. For instance, they think gay marriage is wrong, but will wear mixed fabrics without fear of going to hell. I think religion NEEDS to stay out of law.

    • Cherrypicking is my main issue as well. :) I also had a bad experience with organised religion growing up, I was sent an anonymous letter by a member of the church I went to, though I know perfectly well who sent it. I wasn’t about to let that person stop me from going to church but the lack of action taken by the church, especially when they discovered the handwriting on the letter matched the handwriting of a certain person in bible studies they had handed in.. eventually that hurt my heart so much I ended up walking away. :(

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