Of all the diversity issues, religion is the most difficult. It so often involves the question of how far one can allow the rights of people to apply the doctrines they believe-in to the lives of other people.
Our religion – or lack of one – is perhaps the only thing we can really choose. Everything else is beyond our control – gender, race, disability, sexual orientation or age. But regardless of the indoctrination we might receive through our upbringing, we have the power as adults to choose what we believe and how we behave towards others.
So where does the right to have a religious belief (and to worship) end and discrimination begin? And, in such a multicultural society as Britain, how do people with competing religious beliefs reconcile the inevitable differences? Can any one person speak for them all when organisations wish to consult on the topic?
Monsignor John Devine is Churches’ Officer for the North West. He runs the North West Forum of Faiths and is a priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool. From his position of regular dialogue with people of many faiths, he seemed like a relevant person to ask.
For editorial background on this item see the Blog post : The Gospel According to John