News – 15 March 2015
How not to mock Christians
The Iona Institute for Religion and Society released a report titled, ‘British Christians fear ridicule for declaring their faith openly’. In it, the report stated the following:
Christians in the UK are afraid to speak openly in work about their faith for fear of ridicule by colleagues, a study by the country’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has found.
In a study conducted among 2,500 people of all faiths and none on the topics of religion and the workplace, the EHRC found that Christians who openly declare their faith are often labelled ‘bigots’ by work associates or routinely mocked for their beliefs. The respondents indicated that such treatment was meted out to their children at school too. Given such experiences, those Christians polled also told the EHRC of their belief that Christianity is being increasingly sidelined in the UK.
According to the EHRC’s report: ‘A recurring theme among some employees was the pressure they felt they were under to keep their religion hidden at work and feeling discriminated against when it came to wearing religious symbols or expressing their beliefs. This was felt particularly by Christians. People reported being mocked for their beliefs, including Christians, who said their colleagues assumed they were bigoted.’
Christians made up the largest single faith group responding to the EHRC survey, accounting for 1,030, while the next largest cohort was atheists, with 188 respondents.
(Source: Iona Institute for Religion and Society, Dublin, 13th March 2015)
THIS illustrates the considerable difficulty of mocking a belief without mocking the person affected by (or afflicted with) the belief. The believers are bound to be personally affronted if they identify with their belief, which they have a human right to do – unless it is obviously dangerous. The Humanist will look beyond the belief to the associated doctrines that have been harmful, and contrast them with the benefits of reason detached from the belief. In that way, dignity may be maintained.
Report by Stephen Stuart