I was really disappointed by the process by which the SORS legislation was propelled through Parliament. Whatever you think of the legislation itself, the process, both here and in Nortern Ireland, certainly seemed lightweight on consultation.
This is legislation that starts to erode the rights of people to exercise their conscience in matters of belief and moralilty. The inclusion agenda, now driven apparently by a secular worldview, has become what it originally sort to undermine: the exercise of raw power of one group over another.
Inclusion is, to some extent, a concept that is in the “eye of the beholder”. It is now obvious what was previously implicit: that the most inclusive agendas can become plainly exclusive. It can feel like a tool of the kind of fundamentalism that we are all working to undermine.
Of course, I am aware that there have been seasons of history when the Church exercised raw power over the powerless – and I certainly would not want a return to those days! However, there is abundant evidence that the faith groups’ concern for the poor and powerless in our world is without question. You might think therefore that our right to stand against issues that are not in line with our conscience and teaching might be carefully considered, before being ridden over roughshod in such a non-consultative way.
I hope we are a long way from “thought police” government. Suddenly it seems a little closer.