Christian Life 

Churches to be forced to employ gays

Churches and other Christian groups will be forced to employ practising gays, transsexuals and civil partners under the Government’s new Equality Bill.

CCFON/Christians Together

(Caveat: Some issues of legislation have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament whilst others have been retained by the Westminster government.)



SpannerThe Equality Bill aims to sweep all of the existing law on equality into one Act of Parliament and to eliminate more forms of discrimination than are currently covered.

While Christians believe in the innate worth of every human being, the Bill undermines basic Christian freedoms to adhere to biblical values in the area of employment. Churches and other Christian groups will not be able to discriminate on the basis of sexual practice which contravenes biblical values or gender reassignment when employing staff.

Only roles which mainly involve teaching, promoting, or leading worship services will be exempt from the provisions of the Government’s new Equality Bill. Far from simplifying the law which the Equality Bill promised to do. The Bill places even more complex requirements above and beyond those already within the existing law and states in the Explanatory notes to the Bill that “the specific exception applies to a very narrow range of circumstances”.

This means that churches could be sued for not employing practising homosexuals for jobs including a church youth worker, secretary or accountant.

This is made clear in the Explanatory notes that accompany the bill: ‘This exception would not apply to a requirement that a church youth worker of accountant be heterosexual’.

Equalities Minister Maria Eagle has recently addressed a UK conference on Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia and Human Rights and stated that “The circumstances in which religious institutions can practice anything less than full equality are few and far between…”. This sort of so-called equality leads to censorship and discrimination.

Andrea Williams, Director of Christian Concern for our Nation commented, ‘This is a new attempt to impose the State’s secularist agenda on the Church and gag Christians from teaching and living out what the Bible says about sexual ethics. The Government thrust is that Christians should largely be free to follow Christ in private, as long as it doesn’t affect their working life ’.

Recent Christian Legal Centre cases illustrate the point. Kwabena Peat, a Christian teacher spoke out against homosexual propaganda on a school training day and found himself suspended. For more information, click here.

David Booker, working at a homeless charity was also suspended after answering questions from a colleague about his views on homosexuality.


Additionally, new or revised legislation covering 'aggravated offences' and 'hate speech' (so-called) whilst protecting the innocent, could also be used to wrongly accuse those with religious views.

CCFON, 22/05/2009

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Peter Carr 27/05/2009 16:20
It is sad indeed if we need to ride on the coat-tails of other religions!
Editor 27/05/2009 16:58
Religious leaders had hoped to lobby for exemptions to the Equality Bill but Maria Eagle, the deputy equalities minister, has now indicated that it will cover almost all church employees.

“The circumstances in which religious institutions can practice anything less than full equality are few and far between,” she told delegates at the Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia and Human Rights conference in London.

Under existing equalities legislation, any roles deemed to be necessary “for the purposes of an organised religion” are excluded from gay rights protection.

But the Equality Bill for the first time defines this as applying only to those leading worship and teaching.

A spokesman for the Christian Institute accused politicians of hypocrisy.

“It would be absurd to pass a law demanding that the Labour Party employ card-carrying Conservative members, but that is effectively what churches are being told to do. We just want the same exceptions as political parties,” he said.

“Christians are sick to the back teeth of equality and diversity laws that put them to the back of the queue. We are quite prepared to accept that people will take a different view to us on moral and ethical questions, but that should not mean we have to withdraw from public life.”

Read more at Lifebite News:
Mark Cooke (Guest) 14/01/2010 21:15
The law of the land is made by elected representatives whose ideas and policies broadly mirror the thoughts and ideals of British society. Progress is made when more people are given the same rights in the eyes of the law. Its about equality which is the biggest issue facing all of us. I am heterosexual and atheist but feel that sometimes the church has the wrong attitude towards gay people. I would also react when people of faith are attacked because of their beliefs. I would also say to both groups, so what about your special situation as they might about mine. This is, I feel, a better way towards treating each other equally. Healthy respect but good debate and engagement. We all have value.
Peter Carr 15/01/2010 08:50
Mark said, "I am heterosexual and atheist but feel that sometimes the church has the wrong attitude towards gay people."

It is not the churches attitude regarding people in general that counts, but God's. The church is simply God's visible agent here on earth, and should reflect Him. What does God's word the bible say about all people irrespective of their sexual orientation?

Rom 3: 21 - 26 (NIV - New Testament)

Righteousness Through Faith

"But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement,through faith in his blood.

He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."
John Parker (Guest) 15/01/2010 10:16
As you say Mark -
"The law of the land is made by elected representatives whose ideas and policies broadly mirror the thoughts and ideals of British society."

I suppose another way of saying it is that people get the leaders they deserve.

But true leadership is about 'leading' and not 'just following' (the herd).

In terms of standards, our laws in the UK have been substantially shaped by Christian values. And to this day in constitutional terms the UK sits under the monarch who sits under God.

So, officially, we should be following God's way in all that we do and the laws that we develop.

However there are - now, but not just now - powerful forces at work which would like to drag us away from God's standards for a healthy society. And governments are being much influenced by this.

Regarding the message (which Peter has helpfully outlined above) I would concede that the church has not always put its message across in the best way.

The thought that comes to mind is "It's not what you say it's the way that you say it."

For example -

"You did what - that's crazy. Why didn't you do it the way you were told? Don't you ever listen to what I say?"

Or -

"OK, so what's happened? ... Well, yes you can do it that way. And let me show you a way that sometimes works well for us too"

But leaving aside the matter of 'tone' etc. the hearer (of any message) has to be willing to listen and accept it. And much of the problem is that there are some who will just not do that.

The most Godless song of the last few decades was popularised by Frank Sinatra - "I did it my way."

Stubborn indepedence from God will never do any of us - individuals or nations - any good.
Rosemary Cameron 15/01/2010 21:52
There is an online petition open for people to sign on the equality bill if they wish - see See also the Care and Christian Institute websites for up-to-date news on the Equality Bill and who to write to. (It is currently in the Lords.) If we don't make our views known we can't complain when we are ignored.
Editor 16/01/2010 10:09
Thank you Rosemary.

There is now an article on the Christians Together site which gives further information; with more information to be added shortly.

a h 18/01/2010 00:22
Mark Cooke said

"The law of the land is made by elected representatives whose ideas and policies broadly mirror the thoughts and ideals of British society. "

Mark that is really not the case is it? Politicians depend on the fact that most of the population DO NOT read their manifesto and thus they can 'back door' their own political agenda. How many people do you know who vote Labour, because their parents voted Labour and they're going to vote Labour until they die. Not for any ideological reason, but purely by custom. Therefore as far as those politicians representing the "the thoughts and ideals of British society," I dont think so.
Alec (Guest) 18/01/2010 09:16
Amother factor that is worth considering is that, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, people will vote for the person rather than the party. The Lib Dems are very much like this. People like the late Rae Michie was HUGELY popular and I am sure people voted for her who wouldnt have normally voted liberal. Charles Kennedy is also in this mould as was the late Jo Grimond

Donald Stewart of the SNP in the Western Isles was again a very popular "person" and not just a "politician"

If the SCP is to make any headway they HAVE to have a strong local candidate

Of course it could work the other way "I would normally vote for Party X but Candidate Y puts me right off....."
Peter Carr 25/01/2010 21:42
Lords defeat Govt
over church staff

A few minutes ago the Government lost a Lords vote over its attempt to alter the law on who churches can employ.

In a series of votes, Peers voted to keep the current law unchanged.

The current law allows churches and other faith-based employers to protect their ethos by insisting staff live consistently with the religion's doctrine on sexual behaviour.

More information here.

It has been a privilege for The Christian Institute to support Lady O'Cathain on several religious liberty issues in recent years. Watch this short clip of Lady O'Cathain talking about our work on our YouTube channel.
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