Why does holding irrational beliefs let you be a threat to public health?

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The number one cause of homophobia on the planet is almost certainly religion. Yet each time equal rights laws are passed religious groups leap into action claiming that across the board enforcement of equality laws is an infringement of religious freedoms, the freedom in question being the freedom to to discriminate against gay people on the basis that you believe in a non-existent deity. These arguments do not always win out, as we saw in Northern Ireland this week.

Irrational beliefs, of course, should be no reason for an exemption to the law. Deep seated bigotry is still given obscene levels of credibility when it is dressed up as religious belief. When a religion seeks an exemption from the law, that law must be enforced more strongly.

Religious exemptions to laws, however, are not limited to the oppression of gays, women, or whatever “minority” – these minorities always add…

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