So I repeat: in a free society people must be allowed to believe what they like, even stupid, ignorant and absurd things, provided they do no harm to others. Religious organisations have every right to exist and have their say, just as any other self-selected, self-constituted interest group does, such as trade unions and political parties. But religious organisations have to recognise that they are such groups, and nothing more than such groups – that they are civil society organisations like trade unions, existing to protect and promote their own interests – and although they have the same rights, they do not have any greater rights.
And here is the problem: the religions think they have much greater rights than anyone or anything else – rights to be heard, to be exempt from laws, to be awarded special privileges, to be given our tax money to run their own schools, to have representatives in the House of Lords (26 bishops plus all those retired bishops and archbishops who are now life peers), to be given hours and hours of air time on publicly funded radio every week, to have charitable status, to have their hospital chaplains paid for by the public purse, and so on and endlessly on, getting a huge slice of the pie out of all proportion to the realities: which – as an indication of the overall picture – are that about 3% of the population go to Church of England services every Sunday, less than 10% of the population going weekly to any church, temple, mosque or synagogue. And the state goes along with it!
How can this be tolerable? All religious organisations should be relegated to the status of private self-selected and self-constituted NGOs like trade unions and other lobby groups, should survive on what money they can raise from their adherents, should have the same and no more than the same rights and entitlements as any other such organisation and should stop getting privileges, money and an amplification for their views (views, never forget, derived from the beliefs of illiterate goat-herds in ancient times) from government.""""
Contingencies also agrees that voluntary self-euthanasia should be a right, though a carefully delineated right.