Looks like it can’t. For all the gloss that the Boy David puts on his new Conservative party, lurking underneath is still the old dinosaur. Every now and then the veil slips and you catch a glimpse of the offal.
Chris Grayling has just given us such a peak. (Read the story here.) In essence, he is saying that it’s OK to discriminate against gay people if you hold a religious belief. Quite apart from the argument that this is the thin end of the wedge that takes us back to the disgraceful Section 28, I wonder if he’s actually bothered to think through what he is, in effect, saying.
“You cannot have your cake and eat it.”
It’s the picky-choosey attitude of those who wrap their bigotry up in bible quotes that really hacks me off. Anyone who has done even some brief reading of the bible (or the qur’an for that matter) will know that it’s actually quite easy to use them in support of almost any viewpoint. A nice selection of quotes and, bingo, god’s on your side. Deuteronomy alone, for instance, allows murder and pillage, not to mention execution by stoning of rape victims – but we don’t hear too much in support of that. Why? Because it’s not acceptable, albeit that it’s in the bible and, therefore, god’s word. Christ didn’t mention homosexuality, but he was very hot on the fornicators and adulterers. Presumably, Mr and Mrs B&B would have allowed in a man and a woman without enquiries into their marital status while turning away the gay couple.
But I digress. What makes Grayling dangerous is that he aspires to be Home Secretary and the first and most important function of that role is to uphold United Kingdom law. Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is against the law – and there can be no derogation from that for the sake of spiritual belief, otherwise it be no law at all.
Grayling says “I took the view that if it’s a question of somebody who’s doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn’t come into their own home.”
Wrong! You cannot have your cake and eat it.
It’s not just the humble B&B that operates from private premises – a great many shops and small businesses still do so, with the owner living on the premises. Most of our, misnamed, public houses are actually private homes to which the public are admitted. Ergo, under Grayling’s philosophy, all these traders should be allowed to refuse service to someone if their religious beliefs proscribe a characteristic which is, frankly, not relevant to their worth as a human being.
The law is not there to change a person’s beliefs, but to control their behaviour. Simple fact – if you don’t want queens under your roof, don’t run a B&B!