There has been a bit of a furore of late surrounding whether or not a Muslim M&S employee should be expected to serve customers buying pork and alcohol as it is against their religion. This was reported in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday and since then Twitter has erupted over the issue. Everyone seems to be having their say, so I thought I would chip in with my two-penneth.
At this point I should probably declare that I am religiously intolerant, but I like to think that I am intolerant to all religions about equally. You may, therefore, expect me to agree with Richard Dawkins, who weighed in today to comment along the lines of this being a perfect example of how ridiculous religion is.
However, as is increasingly the case, I don’t agree with Dawkins and his militant atheism – I don’t think that is doing anyone any favours.
Most of the other views expressed are along the lines of “how dare they, this is Britain don’t you know!” and “if they don’t like our rules they can damn well go home!”
Here are my thoughts for what they are worth.
We live in an increasingly multi-cultural society. There are people of many faiths and none. We need to get used to that and find a way to get along. Telling people that their religion is stupid is not likely to be helpful, but equally don’t try to force it down others’ throats or expect them to abide by the rules of a religion in which they don’t believe.
If you have strong religious views, you probably shouldn’t work for an organisation that makes money, and pays you, for doing things you don’t agree with. On the other hand, that may be difficult, so if your employer is going to accommodate your wishes that is an internal matter for them.
If you are a newspaper, stop blowing up non-stories purely with the purpose of stirring up xenophobic and borderline racist rage. Oh wait, no, that’s what sells newspapers.
As it is almost Christmas can we just for a few days put aside our petty differences and actually practice that allegedly Christian ethos of ‘peace and goodwill to all men’
Meanwhile I’m planning a nice mid-winter feast, which will, unsurprisingly, certainly include plenty of alcohol.
Merry Christmas, whatever your religious beliefs.