In their letter to the Prime Minister, the Archbishops of
“The rights of conscience cannot be made subject to legislation, however well meaning.”
One wonders whether the worthy prelates have really thought this issue through. Presumably it means that:
Islamic suicide bombers whose consciences tell them that they are fulfilling the will of Allah cannot be the subjects of anti-terrorist legislation;
Christians who starve, torture and murder small children because their consciences tell them that the children are possessed by the Devil cannot be prosecuted;
It was right for those Christians who worked for the Nazis in concentration camps to do so because their consciences told them it was alright;
Anthony Blunt and other Cold War traitors should have been excused because their consciences told them to spy for the
The British in
It was right for the Christian churches in past times to torture and burn to death “heretics” and “witches”, because their consciences told them to do it;
The Roman Catholic Church was right to condone slavery until the middle of the twentieth century because their Christian “consciences” sanctioned it.
These are just the first few examples of the novel doctrine that the rights of conscience override the law which spring to mind.
Doubtless others will occur to those who read this post.