Many people these days seem to quite vociferously defend their “rights”. It’s hard to open a news site without reading about someone or other claiming how something of other impinges their rights (human or otherwise) and rushing to the law about it.
Latest of these was Clive Bone and his right to not have to sit through a prayer meeting which he could have walked out of. Of course Mr Bone was well within his rights to be offended. He was well within his rights to go to the law and start a potentially expensive court case against the Council even in these recessionary times and tie up a court and the time of a judge to do this. Well, well within his rights. Hurray for Clive. Exercising his rights.
And yet I wonder if perhaps the rest of Bideford Council could have done more to assuage his concerns if he’d said he was going to take it to the law? Could they have gone to a different room? A private house before the meeting?
And yet I wonder what they do now. Now that they’ve been told they can’t do it during a council meeting? Do they simply have the same prayer meeting, unminuted, before the meeting?
And yet would that have been enough for Clive? Would he have objected anyway? It’s his right to object to anything.
And yet, why did he object at all? Oh yes, he was embarrassed by a bunch of people espousing a belief in public that he did not share. Yet when he espoused his belief did they go to the law? Were they offended by someone who didn’t share their beliefs? Well if they were they didn’t say so.
Some people get embarrassed by public displays of affection they don’t rush to the law or call a policeman. “That lad’s sucking that poor girl’s face off, put a stop to it!” It’s just a display of love and affection. As prayer is for the believer.
And there’s another side to this. Many people find it objectionable that atheists call religion “idiocy” or “stupid” or make reference to “sky fairies” when they refer to it. And not surprisingly it’s rude, but it’s just words they’ll say. But they are within their rights to offend to do so. But when you call them a “c*nt” then suddenly that’s not allowed, it’s just a word.
And then we come to it. The greatest of man’s modern rights. The right to insult. The right to offend. The right to be absolutely disrespectful of others. Shades of Cartman in Freak Strike. “I do what I want!”
When I was a lad, back in the not so dim or distant past I was raised to be polite and respectful to people. Even to people with whom I disagree. Respect others and they’ll respect you. Now no one seems to want to respect anyone. People only care about their own rights and sod the world. What happened?
Still, sorry for calling anyone a “c*nt”, even if it was only to illustrate that lack of respect cuts both ways.