What message are we receiving when religious leaders consciously undermine and criticize human rights protections and equality laws?
This question presented itself to me when I read of the Pope's planned visit to the UK - upon which he has immediately criticized existing UK laws which protect the lives, equality, humanity and dignity of certain groups of people as violating "natural law" and is viewed as an attack on the legal rights granted to women and gay people. It is a de facto defence of faith-based discrimination. Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has said that Benedict "objects to the fact that religious institutions in the UK can no longer lawfully discriminate at will on the grounds of gender and sexual orientation".
Are we to understand that the Pope feels that women, gay and transgender people should not have rights at all?
Does this example not attempt to completely redefine what it means to be Christian, godly, civilized or human? Does it not paint religion with a fresh coat of hypocrisy, tears and bloodshed?