Conscientious Objection: Do they really mean it?
by: John Tyrrell
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After meeting secretly last September with the notorious anti-gay bigot, Kim Davis, Pope Francis expressed support for government employees exercising conscientious objection on religious grounds in the performance of their duties.
In a thoroughly confusing (to me, anyway) statement, Pope Francis said:
“There should be room for conscientious objection in every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise we would wind up in a situation where we pick and choose which rights we will honor, saying ‘this right that has merit, this one does not.’”
Uh... wait a minute. Doesn't that conscientious objection he approves of involve picking and choosing? And does not the case of Kim Davis involve her picking and choosing what rights affect other people? After all, no-one is forcing her into a same-sex marriage - though her own marriage history which no-one forced her into has been quite contrary to the teachings of the Jesus she supposedly follows.
Marco Rubio, currently trying to be the Republican candidate for American President also supported conscientious objection on religious grounds saying God's law overruled US law.
“We are clearly called, in the Bible, to adhere to our civil authorities, but that conflicts with also a requirement to adhere to God’s rules. When those two come in conflict, God’s rules always win. In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin, violate God’s law and sin, if we’re ordered to stop preaching the gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that. We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin.”
Both the Pope and Rubio managed to link their support for conscientious objection on religious grounds to same sex marriage. But I ask whether their support for conscientious objection would stand up on other issues.
I'll just ask about marriage here, though I could frame these questions in any number of issues:
Would Rubio and the Pope support the county clerk who issued marriage licenses for polygamous marriages contrary to US law, but in agreement with the clerk's God's law?
Would Rubio and the Pope support the county clerk who issued marriage licenses for marriages in which at least one of the participants was underage contrary to US law, but in agreement with the clerk's God's law?
Would Rubio and the Pope support the county clerk who issued marriage licenses for marriages in which the participants were siblings contrary to US law, but in agreement with the clerk's God's law?
Would Rubio and the Pope support the county clerk who issued marriage licenses for marriages in which the participants were first cousins contrary to the laws of half the States, but in agreement with the clerk's God's law?
I contend that both Rubio and the Pope would condemn such actions, all of which, while they might be in accordance with another religion's god's law, are not in accordance with their religion's god's law. Neither of them are really interested in supporting a blanket right to conscientious objection. They only support conscientious objection in support of their specific version of their specific God's laws. At heart, neither of them give a damn about a right to conscientious objection. What they really want is for their co-religionists to have the right to force their beliefs on others, even though it is contrary to the law. And they are dishonest enough to call this imposition on other "religious freedom."
Three years ago, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that England's equality laws take precedence over religious belief. As reported in the Washington Post:
The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday (Jan. 15) ruled that equality laws trump personal religious beliefs, ....
In what lawyers describe as “landmark rulings,” the court in Strasbourg, France, ruled that employers did not violate the religious rights of a registrar who refused to officiate for the civil partnership of a same-sex couple or of a counselor who was unwilling to offer sex therapy for gays.
And that's the way it should be, in England, in Canada, in the USA, and everywhere else. Pope Francis and Marco Rubio be damned!
What has Pope Francis done to the conscientious objectors within the Vatican who, dismayed by inactivity in dealing with Vatican corruption, leaked documents to the press? Did he laud them for exercising their basic human rights? Hell no - he had them charged and put on trial!
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