If Climate Change is a religion, then who is our God?
Published 14th October 2009 - 18 comments - 1422 views -
If I believe fervently enough in Climate Change, should my beliefs be protected in the same way as those under Islam, Judaism or Christianity?
Is religious belief somehow different because it is faith based, rather than scientifically grounded?
What if the way I live my life is rooted entirely on my environmental views? Should I be protected from discrimination?
These questions were put to the test earlier this year when Tim Nicholson, a former Executive at a large UK property company, took his employer to court for unfairly dismissing him on the basis of his strong belief in Climate Change.
As Head of Sustainability, Nicholson said his efforts to improve the company's green credentials were actively hampered by other executives, and he was eventually dismissed because of conflict over his views.
The lawyer defending the company, John Bowers QC, argued, "a philosophical belief must be one based on a philosophy of life, not a scientific belief, not a political belief or opinion, not a lifestyle choice, not an environmental belief and not an assertion of disputed facts."
The judge however, upheld Nicholson’s case, ruling that the company had breached the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations Act, 2003. Under this law "philosophical belief" is protected alongside religious belief if it passes a legal test requiring it to be cogent, serious and "worthy of respect in a democratic society".
Clearly this case has implications beyond environmentalism. What about patriotism? Animal welfare? Humanitarianism? Each of these attract similarly passionate followers?
The question is, where do we draw the line?
About the author
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