These Judges Want to Destroy Our Core Moral Values. We Simply Can't Let Them Succeed
Byline: THE Melanie Phillips COLUMN
One OF the great bulwarks of a democracy is an independe n t judiciary, which acts as the ultimate defender of liberty because the judges are free from political control.
In Britain and europe, however, something very alarming has taken place. The judges are increasingly becoming a positive threat to liberty because they have usurped the political process.
As a result, they are straying -- no, actually marching with banners flying and drums beating -- into territory which should lie well beyond their remit.
In recent days, there have been two such outrageous court rulings. The european Court of Justice, the judicial arm of the european Union, ruled that insurance companies may no longer differentiate between men and women when calculating the rates offered on annuities which are used to convert pension pots into an annual income.
Until now, men have received higher rates because their average life span is shorter than that of women. But because the ruling will force firms to treat both sexes equally, men stand to lose hundreds of pounds of retirement income per year.
The reasoning, however, is utterly specious. The judges have interpreted anti-discrimination law in the most boneheaded way by saying that any gender difference in these rates is discriminatory.
But there is a very good reason for this difference, in that women live longer than men.
Discrimination surely occurs only when people in the same circumstances are treated differently. Which is patently not the case with pensions, where the different rates aim to ensure men don't lose out.
The ruling will therefore impose unfairness upon the pension system. And to put the tin lid on it, this is being forced upon us by a foreign court.
What in heaven's name entitles a bunch of judges who represent no one and are not even part of our society to supersede our own democratic decision-making and dictate to us our own pension arrangements? In any sane universe, nothing at all.
The second case was in many ways very much worse. This was a ruling handed down in the High Court, which effectively upheld the ban on a black Christian couple, eunice and Owen Johns, from fostering children because they refused to undertake to tell a child that homosexuality was acceptable.
In just about every respect the Johns are ideal foster parents -- decent, solid, loving and with years of experience. Given the chronic shortage of foster parents and the large number of black children in care, one might have thought the Johns would be as valuable as gold dust.
Yet Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson justified the ban by ruling that the couple's attitude to homosexuality was a legitimate reason to withhold official approval from them. Such people are therefore effectively being punished for having the wrong attitudes. This is the kind of behaviour associated with totalitarian societies, not liberal Britain. More jaw-dropping still, the children whose 'right' to be told that homosexuality is acceptable is supposedly infringed by the Johns' Christian beliefs would all be under ten years of age.
So the Johns are being punished for wanting to protect children from inappropriate talk which would surely be an abuse of their childhood.
And despite the judges' insistence that they are not taking an anti-Christian position, that is precisely what their ruling does. For it effectively holds that traditional Christian beliefs harm children. Indeed, the judges went much further and said there was no place in law for Christian beliefs, since 'the laws and usages of the realm do not include Christianity'.
But Britain has an established Church, the monarch undertakes to be 'Defender of the faith', the country's literature, history, institutions and attitudes are steeped in Christianity, and most people still identify themselves as Christian. …