A few weeks ago Gerry Adams the Sinn Fein leader, tripped over a phrase in conversation alluding to a “Trojan Horse” in relation to “sneaking in” an equality agenda to Norneverland .He knew what he meant to say but in conversational terms, his reference was a little awkward, if not wholly far-fetched.It certainly gave a lot of people fuel for discussion.The idea that Gerry Adams was trying to somehow sneak in an equality agenda was really a republican plot, it was said. You might wonder , when the dust settled, what was the problem with that? Was it the fact that republicans had taken ownership of the idea of “equality” for all or was it the idea of sneaking the whole business into a place like Norneverland where “equality” was really not actually wanted at all.
You probably already know from exciting childhood stories of Greek myths ,such as Homer’s “Odyssey” , what the reference referred to , but if you have never been a reader , you’ll probably have come across the story of the Wooden Horse of Troy ,the parting symbolic ” gift” full of Greek soldiers sneaking into the city to overthrow it.You may have seen it portrayed in a film ….maybe the klutzy one starring Brad Pitt ……the idea of smuggling men ,ideas or a computer virus into a situation where it is unwanted is known widely as a “trojan”. There ‘s even a great old British World War Two movie concerning a prison- camp escape using a wooden vaulting horse as a decoy. In America “Trojan” is known as the best selling condom on the market, strangely enough….the trojan as protection , then.
The phrase that springs to mind is …”I fear Greeks, even those bearing gifts”.
In Norneverland,substitute Republicans or Nationalists for Greeks and you’re on the right track ….that fear of real equality.
What is the problem with equality in Norneverland , you might ask? You’d imagine that equality for each human being would be a good thing to have. it would mean that the rules that society believed in , as a generality , and the laws that had been generations in the making, would always be respected and every citizen would have the same privilege and protection.
Gerry Adams ‘ “take” on it ,is that there are certain elements in our society who really don’t want “equality” so they have to be given it by subterfuge . A sugared pill with a bitter medicine like Mary Poppins’ “spoonful of sugar” .He’s probably right.People are aspirational creatures and they enjoy feeling one-up….better than their fellows . Some get hung up about the size and power of their motor car , for example, and have a need to buy the very latest model each year .To them it is more than a car.It is a badge of achievement to show their neighbours that they are in fact a little more equal than them .It is a mark of status in that respect, rather than a mere machine. This kind of thing plays out across all societies, so an equality agenda has to have some restrictions in its makeup.It is really about fairness across society.
An equality agenda should stick clearly to a remit that provides civic equality without favour to any particular elite. That means that there can be no “special cases”. It has to be exactly what it says on the tin. It is by nature , an all-encompassing ideal and should have no wriggle-room for special cases or “moralities” based on supernatural beliefs. If the threads of this close weave are unpicked in any way , the whole cloth would unravel anyway and there would be no equality.Most people already know this and I think most people with a logical bent can agree to this concept.
So why is there need for a “conscience clause” in the rights legislation?
First Minister Peter Robinson has backed his DUP colleague, Paul Girvan’s Private Member’s Bill, which is aimed at allowing businesses to refuse services to a customer if they feel it is against their religious convictions.
Some people have some very odd religious convictions which do not stand up to logic in any appreciable way, and in reality , anyone or any group ,has the potential to begin a religion if they feel like it. It is something that does not require a focus on secular or logical realities.The science fiction writer Ron Hubbard created his Scientology Religion , for example, and it appears to be thriving some sixty years later. His creation of “thetans” is no stranger than many religious doctrines involving , spirits, angels , souls and so forth .He believed that “thetans” are immortal and perpetual, having willed themselves into existence at some point several trillion years ago. After they originated,the thetans generated dimensional points, causing space to come into existence. They believed that all matter, energy, space, and time exists solely because thetans agree that it exists…..The point is that even a Charles Manson can form a religion, if he so chooses and can make all kinds of claims and judgements.
Within Christian belief there are already many schisms which are at odds with each other’s beliefs. Beyond that there are many religions at variance with Christianity itself and who knows what the future will throw up.At present there are approximately 4,200 religions throughout the world and as it shrinks in face of mass-communication and movement of people , there are going to be more and more conflicts of philosophy. That is why civic laws need to be wholly secular and separate.Religious beliefs should not impinge else we reach a situation where personal religious beliefs are forced on anyone with no interest in them .That simply means keeping your other-worldly ideas to your internal life .There are already problems enough with Creationism’s attempts to overthrown logic and empirical scientific education.
Many are seeing this proposed tweaking of a pure Equality Bill as the DUP ‘s own “trojan horse” to destroy the idea of equality for all in favour of creating wriggle- room for those who oppose homosexuality and open-minded secular beliefs . I’m inclined to agree with that argument..