It is now official, at least in Britain, Environmentalism is a religion. Indeed, one can now sue for religious discrimination with environmentalism listed as the affronted creed.
According to Tom Nicholson, a 41-year old married man, being Green means he no longer travels by airplane, he buys local produce, has reduced his consumption of meat and he composts his food waste. But his employer, property company Grainger, didn’t take these beliefs seriously – in particular his belief in climate change – and sacked him.
At a preliminary hearing in March, Judge David Sneath ruled that Mr Nicholson’s convictions amount to a philosophical belief under the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations, 2003, and therefore he can claim discrimination.
According to the company Mr Nicholson’s views on climate change and the environment were based on fact and science, but the judge found that “his belief went beyond a mere opinion.”
Marc Sheppard, writing for American Thinker, has asked what next: Earth Day declared a religious holiday, tax-exempt status extended to recycling plants, or defacing effigies of Al Gore prosecuted as a hate crime? Mr Sheppard also suggests that it may be well worth a few law-suits to establish the precedent necessary to keep this nonsense [environmentalism] out of our public schools.
Tim Nicholson: A green martyr
Sacked executive can argue he was discriminated against because of his belief in climate change, judge rules
Global Warming Ruled a Religion by British Judge
Ian Mott says
And that would mean that attempts to denigrate climate sceptics would also amount to religious persecution. Yep, I can handle that. It would mean that Rudd and Wong would be acting unlawfully next time they call for sceptic MPs to be “brought into line”.
But be warned, some particular denominations of the sceptic ‘broad church,’ as it were, could be moved to express their religious fervour in the form of a collective “mooning” of climate lord Pachauri next time he shows his sorry ass in these climes. The clown has been talking through his backside for yonks. So why can’t we?
I thought of Motty last night (well I actually say a little prayer for him each night) while watching “The Day the Earth Stood Still ” with Keanu Reeves as “Klaatu” and Jennifer Connelly as “Dr Helen Benson”.
Dr. Helen Benson, a Princeton professor, and other scientists are hastily assembled by the government in order to formulate a survival plan when it is feared that a large unknown object with a speed of 3×10^7m/s is due to impact Manhattan in approximately 78 minutes.
78 minutes also about the time taken to draft new tree clearing legislation.
Essentially the story being that Klaatu is sent to save the Earth. First greeting as he emerges from the “orb”, and about to shake hands with Helen, finds Klaatu shot by a sniper.
“Welcome to Earth dude – kapow !”
And as the story unfolds – Klaatu is sent to “save the Earth” – but it seems for that to occur humanity has to go. The Earth didn’t include humans.
And repeated acts of violence makes Klaatu believe that we won’t change as a species.
So apparently it’s only “at the brinK’ that we change says Nobel Prize-winning Professor Barnhardt (John Cleese).
So do you want to change Jen?
Do you think humanity needs to change?
I must say Jen looked hot even at the brink of the apocalyptic end of the world.
The original movie made in 1951 before Greenies evolved on the planet. So can’t blame modern movements for the origin.
I commend it to you for a hire.
Motty better buy a copy as he’s probably gonna use it for target practice or take a his chain-saw to it.
(Watching Johnny Depp in “Dead Man” tonight.)
Tyranny thwarted says
Great news. And just wait to see how many class actions occur against the West’s Environmental Protection Agency who have been protecting their “clients” (and I don’t mean the environment either) for forty years.
No longer will the parasitic big end of town be able to pollute our air, our health, our ecosystems, our biodiversity, kill us or even cast aspersions on our “religion.”
Joves I must celebrate a Mass in the name of Gaia. Sign of the Cross. “In the name of the Mother Gaia and the unholy ghost Amen…..”Spectacles, testicles wallet and watch!”
wes george says
Ian, I was thinking exactly the same thing. What is sauce for the goose could be a federal crime in 50 states, or whatever. Bring it on baby.
As for Luke. I am impressed. Complete sentences. And surprise! You get your epistemology from B-grade Hollywood sci fi films. Humans are evil and must be exterminated to save the planet. Ouch. So much for your humanist cred not to mention your rational ability to think objectively and separate shlock fantasy from reality. This one is a keeper for later reference.
Geoff Sherrington says
From another old movie, “On the Beach”, filmed in Melbourne, Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. The world has been nuked and radioactive clouds approach Melbourne, the last place with living humans. The Government orders suicide pills to be handed out. There they are in a box, labelled “Government Property”. People queue to get them. There is an officious Government lady handing them out, checking off the names of people on a clipboard. Only one per person, please.
This is the epitome of government stupidity on film. Why did I feel it was inevitable that something similar would happened in real life to poor retrenched Mr Nicholson.
It is so interesting that what skeptics have been pointing out about AGW for years is now legally true in at least one country: AGW is a religion.
You seem surprised about Luke’s source of deep thought. Why?
I think more than a few AGW believers would find the plot resolution device of “On the Beach” as a very satisfying way to improve the environment.
I have to admit I laughed out loud when I read this one. Reality as farce, truth stranger than fiction, and all of that. AGW is a social movement, and is no recognized as such in the UK. Wow.
Does Mr. Nicholson light AGW-approved votives to Sts. Gore and Hansen? Does he keep a statue of Lovelock on a shelf?
Is he going to off himself if Britain has a hot summer, in order to bring his carbon footprint to zero?
Inquiring minds want to know!
That’s a great a idea. Someone should sue to make environmentalism a religion and keep it out of schools and possibly even universities.
Bob Brown becomes Greens Cardinal Bob Brown, that terrifyingly ignorant Green senator Christine Milne becomes Greens Sister Christine, ABC’s Tony Jones becomes Greens pastor Tony Jones. Waldo Karoly (professor David Karoly) becomes Monsignor Waldo Karoly. Lambert becomes Greens Brother Timothy.
We have the entire management team all ready to go.
Graeme Bird says
Its child abuse teaching these lies in school. I was just taking a train yesterday and some kid starts talking about global warming and flooding and all this. They are filling these kids with this blatant disproven crapola and it will affect the attitude of these people as they grow older. It will make them view the birth of children, not of their own race, as a grave threat to them. Because its neo-fascist Malthusianism is what this movement is. And instead of seeing the public servant leeching as the real and present problem, the kids will instead see some poor people overseas as those who must die to preserve the viability of their own tribe. Since the compulsive lying side of the argument is getting at these kids and abusing them when they are young, there is no way to cure them of these dopey notions.
Even if the kid grows up and on paper ends up agreeing that the birth of children overseas is no threat to them still they will FEEL as if this was a PROBLEM of theirs. A problem worth acquiesing to all sorts of wickedness because of it.
In most extended families the birth of a new baby is a cause for much excitement. But this environmentalist fascism is teaching kids that this is the opposite of the real story and that the birth of baby ought be all about fear of further parasitism on the earth. As if humans were these terrible locusts or rodents.
These irrational fears ought rather be diverted to the reality that any increase in non-defense public servant numbers is what is truthfully hurting the taxpayers environment.
Every new taxeater is a locust and he’s hurting the environment. If thats what we teach the kids they may be cured of their fear and malice towards babies of poor people.
But that’s illogical Bird brain – so if “taxeaters” are locusts hurting the environment (and gee now you even hate locusts!) – and hang on – you don’t give a rat’s arse about the “environment” anyway –
OK start aqain – so if “taxeaters” are locusts hurting the environment – therefore their kids who are maintained and paid for by taxeaters salaries who you’re going to mass sack – the kids themselves are therefore themselves taxeaters.
Are you following me here boy !
So …. you are actually wanting to harm little poor lil’ kiddies by mass sacking their parents?
So that makes you approving of kiddie poverty and neglect then mate? Is that what your liber-shonky political party stands for?
Are you a baby bigot?
SHAME SHAME SHAME ! Bird – you’re finished in this country – it’s off to Ball’s Pyramid for you. And no touching the phasmids.
Ian Mott says
Prayers on my behalf from Luke? Now that would have to be a serious ‘karmic’ liability. Humans as pestillence, how original, so deeply penetrating.
Green religion seems to be some sort of inverted buddhism where humanity is at the bottom of the scale and if one were to live a life of ecological merit, consume little and eschew procreation then one’s karma might be to be reincarnated as a sloth or lizard, to eventually achieve ‘godhead’ status as a slime mould or bowel amoeba. Some greens are obviously further down that path than others.
Graeme Bird says
“OK start aqain – so if “taxeaters” are locusts hurting the environment – therefore their kids who are maintained and paid for by taxeaters salaries who you’re going to mass sack – the kids themselves are therefore themselves taxeaters.”
Now you are getting into the meat of this problem. While poor people in other countries having kids are no threat to us we now have a very big two-tiered problem locally. We have already seen the problem of “welfare families” where you have two or more generations on the public tit. Well clearly this is a drain on the taxpayers environment. And actually a grave threat given that we are a country that has debt problems and typical trade deficits. And locally this is a problem too. Because these kids are more likely going to be the ones stealing the copper out of your house while you are at work.
But added to this we have the potential for multi-generational public-servant taxeater families. And of course what you are saying in this context is true. But its worse than that. Because these kids will likely grow up and try to vandalise the society at large rather than your house or car. So its not just the direct financial leeching that is the problem. So you make a valid point Luke. But there is a ready solution to all this and its mass-sackings and getting these people to get a proper job in the private sector.
We cannot go on the way we are going. It might seem that we can afford this level of parasitism, but thats a delusion only kept alive by the accumulation of huge amounts of extra debt every week.
Klaatu barada nikto! Well fellow Gortees the original Michael Rennie/Klaatu version is much superior and is a seminal movie in the long and distinguished Hollywood expose of the fact humans are basically not fit for good mother Earth; the other side of the coin is the Frankenstein model which shows that messing with too much technology, playing God and interefering with nature’s well thought out and benevolent plan for us, always brings disaster; attempts by man to improve on nature or change nature always result in tears; perhaps one of the best of this strain of human beware movies is Forbidden Planet with a young Leslie Neilson taking on the enhanced Walter Pidgeon who has passed the intelligence test of the departed and much lamented Krel; the Krel had developed technology to bypass nature altogether by giving material effect to thought; however, the poor dears had forgotten their evolutionary past as preserved in their ids/primitive brains so when they went to sleep all the ferals came out to play and ruined the place, Altair 1V. Naturally all the technology is destroyed at the end and only Robby the Robot is left to make vintage plonk from potato peelings. Today Robby has morphed into the Terminators and there is no salvation from humanity from technology.
These 2 themes of humanity not being good enough for the Earth and the ruination and havoc wrought by technology and man’s attempts to transcend nature with technology inform completely the philosophy of AGW; it is beyond Ludditism; it is a denial of what humanity is; a curious and environment changing organism; by changing our environment we change ourselves; this dynamic of similtaneously changing nature and ourselves is despised by green ideology with its myth of a stasis; this is a fairy-tale; nature itself is perpetually changing; for humanity to survive it must remain one step ahead; this is the pointy end of AGW; its proponents hide behind green energy and the threat of destroying ourselves through use of old energy. This is disingenuous and a denial of the real motivation for much of AGW, namely a reverence for nature and a pronounced misanthropy. The situation is similar to another classic movie prognostication about humanity’s fate; George Pal’s 1960 version of The Time Machine; the technological capacity of mankind is personified in the dirty, animalistic Morloks who also happen to eat the ‘natural’ and pretty Eloi; the irony is the pampered life of the Eloi [for which they pay by being gristle for the Morlock] will end after intrepid Rod Taylor cracks a few skulls. But why does the choice have to be so demarcated; surely it’s possible to have technology and freedom from natural harshness without becoming Morlocks?
Actually yes and such a middle ground is depicted in a few quality movies such as Hawk’s “The Thing”; good old human ingenuity and improvisation and toughness beat the Thing, aka James Arness. The Thing personifies nature, or survival of the fittest, which in the end is no match for humanity working as a team. If only it were so easy. Now, luke, are you a Morlock or an Eloi?
Just noticed Luke May 1st, 2009 at 9:20 am it does not have a Gravatar. This means the email address is different to Luke April 30th, 2009 at 6:58 pm which does. Is Luke one person I doubt it? If so I don’t how how he would have time to watch crap movies.
Perhaps we should see how influence they have on his comments and thinking.
Regretfully, I acknowledge that there are other foolish societies who have the same type of absolutely stupid judges that we have in the USA. These are the people who are living the drug-induced Alice in Wonderland lifestyle, where words mean what you want them to mean and there is no objective reality. “Religion is what I say it is, says the Chesire Judge with the cat eyes.”
Most of us have had some experience interacting with religious fundamentalists, and we understand that one of the problems with fundamentalists is that they have no perspective on themselves. They never recognize that their way of thinking is just one of many other possible ways of thinking, which may be equally useful or good. On the contrary, they believe their way is the right way, everyone else is wrong; they are in the business of salvation, and they want to help you to see things the right way. They want to help you be saved. They are totally rigid and totally uninterested in opposing points of view. In our modern complex world, fundamentalism is dangerous because of its rigidity and its imperviousness to other ideas.
Religious belief is established by consensus.
Believe in AGW because there is consensus.
There is no further discussion.
The science is in we must take action and ignore dissent.
The Bible was opaque, written in Latin but believed by the devout.
GCMs are opaque, written in Fortran 90 but believed by the environmentalist.
Believe in the leaders of the church for they know the true way of god.
Believe in Gore for he and only he knows the true way of Gaia.
Beware those who have sinned for the Lord is vengeful god and will visit pestilence upon you.
Beware Gaia those who emit GH gases for Gaia is a vengeful entity and will visit pestilence upon you.
The priest knows the true meaning of the biblical word and will impart the meaning to mere mortals.
The modelling scientist knows the true meaning of algorithms applied with the arithmetic if and FPU. There word will impart the true meaning to the computer literate.
Practise the ways of lord even if you are doubtful to ensure redemption.
Practise the ways of the “conservation” even if doubtful as a precautionary principle.
I charge that the AGW group on this blog and in a general sense are people who are utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion from their own. That is the definition of bigotry, an old word and a religious one. It fits them well and explains the abuse and other aspects of their personas. They are people that are most likely willing to do physical harm if given the chance. Religious zealots now and in the past have proved most capable of this.
kartiya jim says
Good on you Luke.
We all know being “green ” in the bush is a bit like being black , there is subtle discrimination against both in many communities that have trouble with change.
Aboriginal people lived in balance with Nature .
Nature as a Religion worked for them for 50,000 years .
Nature Preservation as a Religion sounds just fine to me and I believe the closer we get to it the more the chance of acceptance of a Great Creator .
DHMO – could have typed my email incorrectly or maybe there are many of us. You guessed it?
On the theme of global destruction and for Wes’s ongoing psyche analysis of me (us)
Alien 1979 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_%28film%29
Just like work actually
Crew are expendable
Mission is everything
Science Officer ends up being an android (we’ve had our suspicions)
There’s some big mfo AGW right wing military complex company who would sell their grannies to keep the alien for military purposes
And just like AGW – the perfect organism that you just can’t kill
Ripley: Ash, can you hear me? *Ash*?
Ash: Yes, I can hear you.
Ripley: What was your special order?
Ash: You read it. I thought it was clear.
Ripley: What was it?
Ash: Bring back life form. Priority One. All other priorities rescinded.
Parker: The damn company. What about our lives, you son of a bitch?
Ash: I repeat, all other priorities are rescinded.
Ripley: How do we kill it Ash? There’s gotta be a way of killing it, how, *how* do we do it?
Ash: You can’t.
Parker: That’s bullshit.
Ash: You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with, do you? Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.
Lambert: You admire it.
Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.
Parker: Look, I am – I’ve heard enough of this, and I’m asking you to pull the plug.
Ash: [Ripley goes to disconnect Ash, who interrupts] Last word.
Ash: I can’t lie to you about your chances, but… you have my sympathies.
(and Sigourney Weaver was soooo hot in the final underwear scene with the Alien – a post modernist heroine kicking butt – what more is there (Jen 🙂 )?
Green Davey says
I like the term ‘carbochondriac’. I know a few of those. Are there such things as ‘climopaths’?
Jeremy C says
I think Jennifer is winding you up or you didn’t read what she posted.
This is what she posted: “Judge David Sneath ruled that Mr Nicholson’s convictions amount to a philosophical belief under the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations, 2003”
A philosophical belief, not a religion. The judges comments, ““his belief went beyond a mere opinion.” are just that, comments, as Jennifer has not given any context for them.
So no religion there.
However, if you go to the webpage for the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations, 2003: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2003/20031660.htm#2 you will find under the section, Interpretation, that religion and belief are not defined. To back me up the UK’s ACAS which arbitrates on industrial and employee matters in its publication, A guide for employers and employees Religion or belief and the Workplace (http://22.214.171.124/search?q=cache:NPiXrxzADSgJ:www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/f/l/religion_1.pdf+%27Employment
+Equality+(Religion+and+Belief)+Regulations,+2003%27&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk), has this to say about the act in the section, ‘What do the Regulations mean’ (page 4), “Religion or belief is not explicitly defined in the Regulations. In most applications to a tribunal it will be clear what is or is not a religion or a similar belief. It will be for the tribunals and higher courts to decide where the issue is disputed. ” The last sentence is the clincher and in the same paragraph ACAS puts it, “The Regulations also cover those without religious or similar beliefs.” So anyone of the bloggers here could make use of the regulations. For example Motty could try and haul me up before the courts in the UK and say I was discriminating against him by using the very accurate descriptor, ‘denialist’. But only if we were work colleagues or if I was his boss and I used it as a basis of discrimination rather than as a very accurate description. Of course Motty would have to prove he wasn’t a denialist and that would be a lot of fun.
So sorry guys no religion there but you will all carry on as usuall just like a tent revival meeting.
When you think about it its dangerous to try and set out in government regulations the extent of belief or a religion because that is a path to tyranny.
Now as I’ve posted before on this site, I’m a christian and so I think I can recognise a bit of religiosity when I see it and if you go to the dictionary the important thing is the use of the wrod worship and my conclusion is that everyone worships something even if its that Orange 1971 Charger in mint condition. To that end I pray to God that one day in a debate, dinner party, street encounter, at the super market, etc, etc, Jo Nova will try and trap me into her thing that believing in AGW is a religious belief. Please, please God. However, God won’t do that sort of thing.
I think the best propaganda thing you denialists ever came up with was to put about this idea that acceptance of the science behind AGW is just a religion. Brilliant, a real coup! I can think of one propagandist revolving in his grave with admiration. But seriously, I really am genuine in how smart I think the person was who thought that one up.
Jeremy C says
“The Bible was opaque, written in Latin”
Erm, Umh………… The bible wasn’t written in latin, it was written in Hebrew, Greek and the Greek was from the spoken Aramaic. Did you write that above or did Miachel Crichton. If Michael Crichton then how could such a large brain get such a simple thing wrong and from that how many other things did he get wrong?
So Luke creams his jeans on science fiction. We’ve noticed this in so many ways. Sad…
is there a greater bigotry than:
some people are violent so, EVERYONE MUST CHANGE OR BE PUNISHED??
some people are wasteful and destructive of the environment so, EVERYONE MUST BE SENT BACK TO THE NATURAL STONE AGE!!!
For the other dufus who thinks aborigines live in balance with nature, YES THEY DO, by MANIPULATING THEIR ENVIRONMENT!!!
Remember who was burning the land long before the white man and all his “evil” showed up!!! Who was making tools, killing and eating animals, making jewelry, clothing…
Living in balance with nature does NOT mean checking your brain when you are born and never having another thought!!! It does NOT HAVE TO mean trying to leave NO TRACE of anything…!!!
go back and read opinion another 50 times until you understand it. If you still come to the same conclusion, enroll in English as a Second Language somewhere.
Jeremy C says
If you read the Independent piece at no stage is the word ‘religious’ used to describe the stance taken by Tom Nicholson however the American Thinker piece makes that claim of religious belief with noooooooooo evidence presented. It does seem that all the American Thunker has done is copy out the Independent piece and add its spin to it…… very, very lazy and dishonest journalism.
The Torygraph ran the story and it didn’t call it a religion either and the Guardian didn’t bother covering it.
So sorry mate, it could read it 50 more times but any open minded person would come to the same conclusion. just go back and read what I originally posted.
Ian Beale says
Must be some interesting gatherings at the Skywalker ranch! See:-
Lucy Skywalker (14:55:13) :
“I’m another addict to WUWT – no, delete that – supporter of truth and civility and debate and scientific method in a beleaguered science.
The stats count simply does not begin to account for the length of time spent on each page. I doubt Joe Romm scratches the surface there.
A recent attempt to convert me ended up saying that if they were my university supervisor they’d ask me to find another supervisor, to which I said I already had one who gets up at dawn each day.”
Check the site as well:-
The Bible was not written. It was compiled from disparate texts.
The texts the Bible was compiled from were written in Hebrew and Greek. The compiled Christian Bible, the Vulgate, was written in Latin translations from the underlying approved texts.
The point Crichton was making is that a huge number of believers in the early Catholic period took on faith the meanings of a book they were unable to themselves read.
Chrichton’s point is well made.
Jeremy C says
You’r twisting things
The OT was around before the NT, the evidence is that the NT was was in pretty much the form it is today by @ 100 AD and so circulating in greek and what do you men by the early catholic period and the use of the word disperate is your opinion.
Chrichton was just wrong.
You are, as they say in the country, picking lint from your belly button.
Just like ‘disparate’ is a reasonable spelling,
Chrichton made a valid point, and only people who seek to deconstruct what he said could miss it.
The point, that a large and interesting parallel exists between religious faith and AGW, is extremely valid.
Geoff Sherrington says
Philosophically, this is more the equivalent of an intellectual civil war than an entertaining debating piece between people playing with words.
You should be studying the reasons why greens have influence and how they got it. One of my first studies was struggling with a huge list of members of activist groups in the late 70s, trying to work out a pattern of where the main dissent was originating. The workings of some of the leading green minds (from their essays) were more like why Hitler hated the Jews than why we must do something to save the earth. Ends justify means and all that old material. There were some really smooth con men in prominent places then, telling you one thing most sincerely to your fae and then doing the opposite in an underhand way. Even extended to this country at Prime Minister level.
The emerging theme is that more and more Governments are realising that they have to scare the wits out of voters so they do not vote for the alternative. We have had a succession of invented disasters, each one becoming larger than the previous in a desperate attempt to steal the limelight. Thankfully, it will soon become impossible to dream up even bigger disasters. These are not new methods, they just seem bigger as global communication improves.
The other dark side is the planned profiteering through the support of radicalism by the wealthy. Foundations like Ford and Rockefeller are up to their ears – maybe not those exact ones, but ones with similar properties. Insurance companies usually thrive on change as to bankers and stockbrokers. The impetus for carbon tax is driven by the greed of these people as Jennifer has editorialised elsewhere. I agree. Collect money to donate to underprivileged countries? Bosh. Collect money for the hip pocket and damn the poor.
So please dob’t blog on about it as if it is a game. It is not, it’s more like war. Many, many people are going to die before their due date because of the influence of these crazed people.
Just filing this here:
“In the eyes of English law, a belief in man-made global warming is on a par with religion. (A dark day for religion I say).
A belief in climate change may be a “belief” under the Religion or Belief Regulations Resource type: Legal update: archive
Status: Published on 30-Apr-2009
Jurisdictions: England, Wales
A legal update on the tribunal decision in a pre-hearing review on Nicholson v Grainger PLC and others.
In Nicholson v Grainger PLC and others ET 2203367/08 the employment tribunal held that an individual’s beliefs about climate change were capable of being a “belief” for the purposes of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 …show full speedread
In Nicholson v Grainger PLC and others ET 2203367/08 the employment tribunal held that an individual’s beliefs about climate change were capable of being a “belief” for the purposes of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. While only a tribunal decision, this does appear to be the first case in which a claimant has successfully argued that a belief which is not similar to a religious belief may be protected under the regulations.
The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 (the Religion or Belief Regulations) came into force on 2 December 2003 and implement the religious discrimination aspects of the Equal Treatment Framework Directive 2000/78/EC. They prohibit direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, discrimination by way of victimisation or harassment in the workplace by reason of any religion or belief. The term “belief” is defined as “any religious or philosophical belief”
(regulation 2(1), Religion or Belief Regulations).
In McClintock v Department of Constitutional Affairs  IRLR 29 the EAT held that the tribunal was right to hold that a view relating to adoption by same-sex couples did not fall within the definition of “belief” (see Legal update, Justice of the Peace who resigned over same sex adoptions did not suffer discrimination (www.practicallaw.com/3-378-7811)).
For further information on the Religion or Belief Regulations, see Practice note, Discrimination on grounds of religion or belief (www.practicallaw.com/3-200-9752).
The European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) is an internationally binding treaty which sets out minimum international standards for the protection of human rights. The UK ratified the ECHR in 1951, but it was not incorporated into domestic law in the UK until the Human Rights Act
1998 (HRA) came into force on 2 October 2000. For further information, see Practice note, Human Rights Act 1998: overview.
Mr Nicholson was made redundant by Grainger PLC. He brought a number of claims, including a claim for discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief on the basis that he had “a strongly held philosophical belief about climate change and the environment”. A pre-hearing review was held to consider various issues, including whether Mr Nicholson’s beliefs were protected under the Religion or Belief Regulations.
Judge Sneath, a Regional Employment Judge, held that Mr Nicholson’s beliefs about climate change and the environment were capable of being a belief for the purposes of the Religion or Belief Regulations.
Mr Nicholson argued that his beliefs relating to climate change and the need to cut carbon emissions was:
“not merely an opinion but a philosophical belief which affects how I live my life including my choice of home, how I travel, what I buy, what I eat and drink, what I do with my waste and my hopes and fears.”
The tribunal identified its job as not to examine Mr Nicholson’s beliefs, but to decide if those beliefs fall within the definition of “philosophical belief” in the Religion or Belief Regulations. This involved looking at the meaning of that term. It noted that the Religion or Belief Regulations derive from the Framework Directive 2000/78 EC which, in the preamble, refers to (among other things) the ECHR (see
Background) as the origin of rights and freedoms to be protected by the Directive. Moreover, in McClintock (see Background), the EAT acknowledged that the language of the Religion or Belief Regulations should be “informed” by the HRA because, under section 3 of the HRA, tribunals are obliged to construe statutory language in a way which is consistent with the rights under the ECHR.
The EAT in McClintock had approved the test identified by the tribunal for determining if beliefs fall within the definition of “philosophical
belief”: whether they have “sufficient cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance and are worthy of respect in a democratic society”
(paragraph 45, McClintock v Department of Constitutional Affairs  IRLR 29).
The tribunal then held that:
* Mr Nicholson’s beliefs give rise to a moral order
similar to most religions.
* It is difficult to argue that beliefs about the
impact of climate change do not fall within this definition. In reaching this view, it rejected an argument that beliefs derived entirely from empirical evidence could not be a “philosophical belief”.
* This case could be distinguished from that of Mr
McClintock (see Background), in which the EAT held that a “belief”
required more than “an opinion based on some real or perceived logic or based on information or lack of information available” (paragraph 45).
In the tribunal’s opinion, Mr Nicholson’s views went beyond “mere opinion” as they affect the way he leads his life.
However, the tribunal noted that Mr Nicholson still had to show that he suffered discrimination on the basis of his beliefs, and that this decision “should not be seen as the thin edge of the wedge [for] similarly based complaints”.
The Religion or Belief Regulations originally referred to “religious belief or similar philosophical belief”. According to the BERR Explanatory Guide at the time, the reference to “similar philosophical belief” did not include any philosophical or political belief unless it was similar to a religious belief. In other words, the belief should occupy a place in the person’s life similar to that filled by the god or gods of those holding a particular religious belief. Examples of philosophical beliefs that generally meet this description include pacifism, humanism and atheism.
The word “similar” was removed by the Equality Act 2006. During the parliamentary debates on the Equality Bill, the Government expressly stated that there was no intention to widen the ambit of the Religion or Belief Regulations, but just to standardise the definition of religion or belief with that used in the new provisions dealing with discrimination in the goods and services field. However, it has led to cases in which it has been argued (unsuccessfully) that the Religion or Belief Regulations apply to discrimination on the grounds of political belief (see Practice note, Discrimination on grounds of religion or
belief: Philosophical belief (www.practicallaw.com/3-200-9752)). This appears to be the first case in which a claimant has successfully argued that a belief which is not similar to a religious belief falls within the definition.
Nicholson v Grainger plc and others ET 2203367/08, 18 March 2009.