Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Opinion Letters

Being non-religious is not barrier to tolerance

Published 23/07/2015

While accepting that there is to be no meeting of minds between Brian McClinton and me on the Ashers bakery issue, I should be grateful if, following his response (Write Back, June 30) to my earlier letter, you would permit me to respond.

Referring to me, Mr McClinton states: "Like many Christians, he assumes religious beliefs deserve special protection... " Firstly, it is presumptuous of Mr McClinton to assume I am a Christian - presumably he does so because of my previously expressed view that the McArthur family has been treated unfairly.

Applying this logic, does Mr McClinton assume everyone in favour of the decision to prosecute the McArthurs is gay?

Secondly, while I have never argued that religious beliefs should be afforded "special protection", I do believe it is unfair to expect such beliefs to be set aside in favour of promoting views which runs counter to those beliefs.

Holding no religious beliefs is not a barrier to showing respect for - and tolerance towards - those who do.

Finally, Mr McClinton states: "Gibson backs intolerance of bakery owners, but implies that we should tolerate verbal attacks on various groups, including religious people, women, or gay people."

That was certainly not my intention - nor do I feel the comment is justified.

Mr McClinton really needs to choose his words more carefully.

R J GIBSON

Belfast

Online Editors

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph