Theology lesson

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The Independent Online

The Foreign Secretary wants us all to understand that British secular values are "conditioned by the faith of past and present ages", as he said in a learned lecture last night. Judge Anthony Hallgarten is not so sure. The tenets of Christianity, Judaism and Islam may be all right – provided, as Jack Straw said, they are held moderately rather than fanatically. But the judge drew the line at feng shui. Yesterday, he threw out the case brought under the Human Rights Act by a Chinese shopkeeper who does not want to move next door because the number four is a bad omen. "The landlord is not obliged to comply with beliefs that would stifle normal economic interests," he said. That was a qualification Mr Straw forgot to mention in his foray into comparative theology.

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