17 December 2009

The Supreme Court ...

... which has recently replaced the appellate jurisdiction of the House of Lords, has just published a decision (5:4) denying the right of an Orthodox Jewish school to regulate its admissions policy according to rabbinical definitions of Jewishness.

I'm not a lawyer, but this seems to me worrying. When the secular state intrudes into the self-definitions of religious groups, it is tet another step towards the dictatorship of secularism. And dangerous to all of us.

9 comments:

Luca said...

Dear Father,
all my compliments for your blog. It's interesting, witty and very thought-provoking.
Do you have something to say about O antiphons and advent ferial days.
I wish you Buon Natale from Italy and look forward to meeting you next time I come to Oxford.

AndrewWS said...

All part of the destruction of the private sphere and the right of free association, slowly crushed under the wheels of the giant fluffy, inclusive, totalitarian Big Sister state.

See also here (or perhaps you already have):

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100020089/the-state-now-decides-who-is-a-jew/

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

Luca: I will oblige tomorrow!

And thanks and very best wishes to you. See you!!

Nicely put, Andrew.

Dale said...

I have also been worried about such decisions, but, if I understand the situation in England correctly, such schools do receive state funds. By doing so, they do indeed place themselves at the mercy of the state. In the United States all religious schools are self-funded, which does make it easier to distance oneself from state interference in religious matters.

Arch Anglo-Catholic said...

This is a slightly more delicate point than it first appears, and is not so much a question of intrusion into questions of faith but rather of ethnicity. The Supreme Court held that the school's policy amounted to racial discrimination, upholding an earlier ruling by the Court of Appeal.

The lower court decided that because Jews are defined as an ethnic group in British law, denying a child admission because his mother is not Jewish constituted racial discrimination.

The School argued (and some Orthodox Jews say) anyone with a Jewish mother is a Jew by birth, regardless of whether they actively observe the faith.

This then is quite different from the Christian standpoint, since membership of the Church is a matter of faith not birth, and is totally divorced from the issue of ethnicity.

Not quite so extreme a decision when one looks at it from this standpoint!

Matthew the Curmudgeon said...

Don't worry, Evangelical, Anglican and Catholic schools are next. That's what happens when you have a powerless state church (and I mean spiritually as well as morally) run by leftist liberal politically correct government officials and gutless clergy. A House of Commons elected by a spiritually and morally ignorant populous and a House of Lords who are just titles walking around pontificating what is good for every one else but not themselves.
Maybe mass conversion to Islam and the overthrowing of the government will stem the tide.
Sorry we over across the pond can't help you this time. We have opted to follow you into hell by electing our own socialist politically correct regime.
We won't convert to Islam we will just start another revolution and blow up the country ourselves thank you very much.

Sadie Vacantist said...

Arch Anglo-Catholic said...

I appreciate that in substance the case is more complicated than it first seems so thanks for the clarification.

The concern must be the issue of discrimination and the law. If a priest is invested with the powers of the state to conduct weddings, on what basis can he refuse to 'discriminate' against same sex partners?

Sui Juris said...

If it comes to that the state in registering marriages is conducting a kind of ecclesiastical function. As a priest I don't regard myself as any kind of state functionary; as a convenience I register the marriages that I also bless. The marriages are of course made by the parties.

Simon C said...

'a priest is invested with the powers of the state to conduct weddings, on what basis can he refuse to 'discriminate' against same sex partners?'.

British law insists that weddings can only be undertaken by partners of opposite sex, so that is not currently an issue!