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Faith-heads allegedly face increased mockery in the UK

Faith-heads allegedly face increased mockery in the UK

As many as a million workers in the UK may have faced harassment, discrimination or bullying because of their religious beliefs according to a new study on British cultural attitudes at the workplace.

The recently released ComRes study says that religion has become the “butt of jokes”, where workers who would not make sexist or racist jokes feel free to mock faith instead. As a consequence some are saying they’re uncomfortable about mentioning they pray or go to church because of the attitude of “highly intolerant secularists”.

Dr James Orr, a McDonald post-doctoral fellow in theology, ethics and public life at Christ Church, University of Oxford, said that he suspects the religious mocking is targeted toward Christians.

Orr, who last year wrote a report titled Beyond Belief: Defending religious liberty through the British Bill of Rights, which was published by think tank ResPublica and analysed the erosion of religious liberties in Britain, said that such targeting is:

Clearly a problem. On the other hand, the question of humour is not as clear cut as all that. I think if one is confident in one’s belief, if one is confident in the truth of one’s faith, one should be able to accommodate and put up with a bit of mocking and humour.

The one thing Christians should not do is turn to the same kind of touchy, highly intolerant and furious approach that many on the secular left tend to indulge in.

Katie Harrison, Director of ComRes Faith Research Centre, said the researchers:

Heard of people feeling upset that religion was the butt of jokes in a workplace where people have become much more aware about making disparaging comments about gender or disability.

One survey respondent said that in their office.

Everyone is very respectful of minorities and would never be disparaging about women or people with disabilities, but when it comes to religion it’s fair game.

ComRes did not break-down the religious category into which faiths are most targeted, but Orr said that Christians are likely being made fun of much more so than other religious groups.

It is acceptable to mock Christianity, it is not acceptable to mock Islam or other religions.

What is more, he suggested that conservative Christians are bearing the brunt of workplace jokes. He said that in many people’s minds, Christianity has come to equal bigotry, hostility to minorities, and other negative traits.

Orr, who in his Beyond Belief report criticised how the Equality Act 2010, meant to strengthen anti-discrimination laws and the rights of minorities, has been “weaponised” against Christians, said that the ComRes study exposes the challenges that lie ahead of believers.

He suggested that “ill-thought through depictions of Christianity” in culture are being driven by the mainstream media, in popular television programs, in songs, in the newspapers, and other sources.

Orr noted of some recent cases, such as Christian nurses being fired by the National Health Service for offering to pray with patients, as an example of why people at the workplace feel less free to talk about their faith.

There is a point where culture fuses with legal mechanisms, legal machinery to produce a highly intolerant impact on Christian believers wanting the best for their fellow citizens. It is hardly surprising in light of cases like that, that people are reluctant to even say that they go to church.

The ComRes study found that sometimes there are notable differences between what human resources managers claim, and the reality of life for the workers.

As many as 92 percent of HR managers said people can talk openly about their personal beliefs or religious traditions, yet only 26 percent of employees said people in their workplace talk about their beliefs often or every now and again.

Orr said it’s hard to blame any one particular sector for the growing hostility toward religion, particularly Christianity, but said those who are more likely to have issues with the expression of faith:

Tend to be those educated middle classes who voted to stay in the European Union, the so-called citizens of anywhere, the globalists, the internationalists.

They treat religion as a kind of awkward anthropological phenomenon that needs to be dealt with through international conventions, through rights-based codes.

There is a kind of dominant misunderstanding as to what the life of a religious believer involves. Why they believe what they do about marriage, sexuality, gender, war, politics, and so on.

The ComRes study noted in its conclusions that in the area of religion and belief, work by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has found that:

Employers and employees, service providers and service users are often unclear about their rights and obligations.

It recommended things such as small focus groups, and technology to facilitate online and Skype discussions:

To enable rapid progress and contribute to relational and collaborative work styles.

20 responses to “Faith-heads allegedly face increased mockery in the UK”

  1. Daz says:

    “Everyone is very respectful of minorities and would never be disparaging about women or people with disabilities, but when it comes to religion it’s fair game.”

    One of these things is a collection of ideas; a set of philosophical and ethical standpoints. As such, it is quite right that it should be examined, critiqued and even mocked and ridiculed. The other two things are not.

  2. Cali Ron says:

    Conflating religion with ethnicity and gender is seriously flawed. I can’t choose my ethnicity or gender, but religion is a choice. As usual, the christians play the persecution card. Stop picking on me wah, wah, say the followers of the supposedly most powerful being in the universe.

  3. RussellW says:

    Agreed. Religion is an ideology like any other, so it is indeed ‘fair game’. Dr Orr is trying the usual approach of special pleading.
    It would be interesting to know if Muslims are copping it as much as Christians, I doubt it.

  4. L.Long says:

    The main thing here is that too many conflate religion with faith. They are not the same thing yes someones faith may sound or be silly but I would not care, as it is his business. Religion, which deserves absolutely NO respect, is a gang of people using faith dogma to gain political power. So I think faith is silly and not too smart, but religion is to be mocked as much as possible.

  5. 1859 says:

    When you stop to think of how, historically, religious people have promulgated their ideas for centuries; of how they have dominated the social and political life of communities all over the fucking world, erecting churches, statues, shrines and fleecing the gullible at every opportunity, it takes a formidable amount of chutzpah to now whinge they they have now become the butt of ridicule. What has happened is that a majority of people are now educated enough to see through the spiritual candy floss of any religion, and to see all religions for what they truly are – cosmological fairy stories that every culture has created to try and explain what the fuck we are doing here floating around in the dark on a speck of meaningless dust in the middle of nowhere in particular. So, yes, it’s open season against faith heads and I for one welcome it wholeheartedly.

  6. Robster says:

    The problem for the deluded believers is those beliefs. People know they’re nonsense, deep down the suckers know this too but are still “offended” when said beliefs are questioned.

  7. Smokey says:

    At first I thought “Well, they’ve mocked (and worse!) atheists for centuries, it’s time for payback”. Then I realized that it’s no better than blaming today’s whites for keeping slaves centuries ago. Which also means that we shouldn’t accommodate today’s blacks just because their forefathers were slaves centuries ago.

    But anyway. Religion and the faith it’s based on is fair game. Stupid beliefs should be mocked and ridiculed. Respect people, not their beliefs and opinions.

    But what if their opinions are racist? Should we respect a racist while disrespecting their racism? Should we respect the president while mocking and ridiculing everything he does?

    Things are not black-and-white.

  8. barriejohn says:

    Of course Christians enjoy being mocked. As we said about Mr Street Preacher, it’s a badge of honour for them, and shows that “God is working and convicting the ungodly”. More than that, they’ll have more Brownie Points than the other believers when they eventually get to heaven, as Bonkers Bob keeps reminding us!

    “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” (Luke 6:22-23)

  9. Walt says:

    Anyone, who at the office coffee machine sincerely insists that I am a sinner and must repent or suffer the wrath of god because I said “easter is merely a nice opportunity for a spring holiday with chocolate for most people” and “in the light of overwhelming scientific fact resurrection of a dead body is an impossibility ” really needs to be mocked, mocked to the point of absolute ridicule in order to help them stop making a fool of himself. And don’t forget that a few centuries ago I would have been committing a capital offence and risking immolation for airing such views. Which is the reasonable response? Immolation at the hands of the pious or mockery by those who are right.

  10. Newspaniard says:

    A million “victims” where did that figure come from? Who were those doing the mocking? I think that you will find that most of the UK indigenous population are quite tolerant of people’s religious practices unless it is in their faces and interfering with their lives. Are the same people demanding victim cards also demanding other special privileges like the muslims (who are probably the mockers) ?
    Ask any group of fundies to do a survey about their own beliefs and the statistics will quickly be generated. A million? Do they know how long it takes to count to a million, never mind gather statistics on that figure? The quote, “Lies, damn lies…” immediately came to mind.

  11. Oh Really! says:

    “And mock them mercilessly wherever you find them”

  12. Paul says:

    @1859
    Very good statement – unfortunately it is empty, because the religious would never ever think like that. They would simply rationalise how wonderful religion is, how it has been charitable and always done wonderful deeds which outweigh anything remotely bad or odious. I would presume they believe that taking religion to savages and conquering people has been so much better for them and brought them good, love and “the truth”, so they are closer to god.

  13. sailor1031 says:

    Barriejohn: When I was a student pilot they taught us to check our fuel level before a flight and plan accordingly if refuelling was not an option. It’s called fuel-management. He claims he flew with empty tanks for over half-an-hour? I call BS on him. I say bad fuel gauge.

  14. barriejohn says:

    Sailor: I heard so many of those stories, and they were all totally unbelievable!

  15. Gui says:

    About the story in Berrie’s link: the fact that the plane the author would fly crashed killing everyone aboard, allegedly in a moment where his faith was in check. Wouldn’t that be what we usually call intimidation?

  16. mrscounter says:

    ‘ As he read the pages of Scripture, something surprising happened. “I fell in love with the God of the Bible – his reasonableness, his forgiveness, his justice,” he recounts.’ – seems legit. 😉

  17. lonbo says:

    ‘ As he read the pages of Scripture, something surprising happened. “I fell in love with the God of the Bible – his reasonableness, his forgiveness, his justice,” he recounts.’ – seems legit.”

    Proof positive that he never actually read the bible. My guess is that he finds lying for Jesus is the best way to seduce deluded christian women. Nothing new here and certainly nothing to see.

  18. Edwin Salter says:

    The crucial point (as in the two initial comments) is the distinction between the unalterable and the chosen. There’s some fuzziness (one can try to look pleasant regardless of physicality) and of course for most of the world religion is assigned almost inescapably (even so one can be restrained rather than vicious). But in UK faith is by choice, as open to comment as any inclination if deliberately made public.

  19. Richard Hugunine says:

    Well, the religious have mocked, burned, strangled, hanged, and terrorized we atheists for centuries.
    Turn about is fair play, is it not?
    I’m inspired to up my mocking game. 🙂

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