Councillors on the Western Isles could be forced to abandon a centuries-old religious tradition of keeping sports and community centres closed on a Sunday because it breaches new equality legislation.
So begins an article I saw on The Guardian’s website today.
The islands of Lewis, Harris and North Uist [it continues,] are the last places in the UK where publicly owned and lottery-funded facilities suchas leisure centres, golf courses, school grounds and community halls are closed because of sabbatarianism, which bans work and play on Sundays on religious grounds.
Equalities legislation will almost certainly mean that if there is any demand at all for these facilities to stay open on a Sunday, then they will legally have to.
Doubtless they, like any other business anywhere, will be allowed to close every Tuesday, should they so wish, or from 3-4pm on the third Thursday of every month, or indeed at any other time, so long as they are choosing to close purely on a whim. If there is a religious reason for closing, that will not be allowed and will be considered discrimination.
What do you think? How should the council – and the Government – approach such an issue?
To read the full article, click here.