Sexual Orientation Regulations
The following has been received (02/03/07) from Christian Concern for our Nation / Lawyers Christian Fellowship
MUST READ: PARLIAMENTARY REPORT INTO SORs REPRESENTS HUGE CONCERNS FOR CHRISTIAN FREEDOMS
2nd March 2007
On Wednesday 28 February the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) reported their findings on the Northern Ireland SORs and the proposed England, Wales and Scotland SORs (see link below for their full report). The highly concerning content of the Committee’s report is all the more significant because it will be used by the Government and politicians when finalising the content of (and voting on) the England, Wales and Scotland SORs in the next few weeks.
WE URGE EVERY CHRISTIAN TO READ AND FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO OTHERS SO THAT THE FULL POSSIBLE IMPLICATIONS OF THE SEXUAL ORIENTATION REGULATIONS CAN BE UNDERSTOOD (further details on action that can be taken are given below). The importance of what this report reveals and the thrust of the secularist agenda cannot be underestimated. We need to understand this and communicate our concerns as widely as possible. We need to pray for a miracle that the Sexual Orientation Regulations would not become law.
The JCHR report says the following:
1. In our view, the prohibitions on discrimination in the Regulations limit the manifestations of religious beliefs and limitation is justifiable in a democratic society for the protection of the right of gay people not to be discriminated against” (paragraph 44).
The Committee could not be clearer in saying that they believe the freedom to live a practising homosexual lifestyle trumps the freedom to live a religious lifestyle.
The JCHR not only say that this is the position taken by the SORs, and that it is right that the SORs do so, but also that in their view, it would be unlawful to reverse the position and to allow the right of Christians to manifest their faith to override the right of homosexuals to practise their lifestyle.
2. Where the manifestation of a belief conflicts with the right of gay people not to be discriminated against in their access to services as important as adoption services, it is in our view necessary and justifiable to limit the right to manifest the belief” (paragraph 52).
3. In our view the Regulations should clearly apply to the curriculum, so that homosexual pupils are not subjected to teaching, as part of their religious education or other curriculum, that their sexual orientation is sinful or morally wrong”, and “We welcome the Government’s acceptance that [the Regulations] should apply to all schools […] without any exemption for particular types of school such as faith schools” (paragraphs 65 and 67).
The Committee are explicit in their view that no Christian schools should have the right to promote marriage over homosexual relationships or hold to a Christian ethos that sex is only right in a heterosexual monogamous marriage. Rather, the JCHR want the Government to go further than their current proposals (the Government have argued the SORs do not apply to the curriculum) so that it would be illegal for a school to suggest in their teaching that extra-marital sexual relationships are morally wrong.
4. In our view there is an important difference between this factual information [about sexual morality] being imparted in a descriptive way as part of a wide-ranging syllabus about different religions, and a curriculum which teaches a particular religion’s doctrinal beliefs as if they were objectively true. The latter is likely to lead to unjustifiable discrimination”
This is an astounding statement which, without giving any justification, assumes Christianity cannot be ‘objectively true’ and that it should be illegal, even in a faith school, to teach that Christianity and its principles are ‘objectively true’.
The JCHR instead say that it will be sufficient for a school to be able to ‘describe’ that one religion believes X about sexual morality, while another religion believes Y – allowing this sort of description while denying the right to promote a Christian view does not allow a school to have a religious ‘ethos’ (as the law currently allows) in any true sense of the word.
The JCHR suggest that it will be illegal for faith schools to teach that the Bible is right in what it says about sexual morality.
5. During the passage of the Equality Act, the House of Lords removed harassment on the grounds of religion or belief from the Bill […] In our view, however, different considerations apply in relation to sexual orientation, race and sex, because these are inherent characteristics. We therefore welcome the inclusion of harassment […] within the Northern Ireland Regulations and we recommend that it also be included in the forthcoming Regulations for the rest of Great Britain” (paragraph 56).
Firstly, the JCHR claim that a person’s sexual orientation is the same as their race or sex as an ‘inherent characteristic’. This is of course a completely unfounded claim with no basis in science: whilst there is indisputable proof that race and sex are genetic, it is obvious that sexual orientation is not comparable in this regard, not least because no-one can change their race or sex whereas many people have felt oriented/tempted to same-sex relationships, as well as having felt oriented to heterosexual relationships.
Secondly, the JCHR encourage the Government to go beyond their current proposals by creating a law making harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation illegal, whilst they recommend that there should be no such law making harassment on the grounds of religion or belief illegal.
It is perhaps not surprising that the JCHR report promotes homosexual rights to such a degree whilst relegating the right to live out the Christian faith: one of the 11 members of the committee was MP Evan Harris, honorary President of the Lib Dem Campaign for Lesbian and Gay Rights as well as vice-president of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association.
The fact is that the report of this Committee will be reported to the Government and other politicians unchallenged in its assertions, unless Christians take the time and effort to stand up and explain the truth that while unjustified discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation must rightly be opposed, for the benefit of society Christians must be free under British law to lovingly and compassionately hold to the clear teaching of the Gospel that God created sexual relationships to be enjoyed only within a monogamous heterosexual marriage.
Please contact your local MPs and Peers to make this point, as well as contacting Ruth Kelly and the Department for Women and Equality (see contact details below) to stand up for truth. Use the link below to find lobbying information (such as finding the contact details of your local MP).
· The Joint Committee on Human Rights report into the SORs can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200607/jtselect/jtrights/58/58.pdf
· A central page with documents on how to lobby MPs and Peers, including advice on finding contact details for MPs and Peers, can be found at http://www.christianconcernforournation.co.uk/HowTo/howto.php
The contact details for Ruth Kelly are:
Post: Rt Hon Ruth Kelly MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
0207 944 3013 (Her department number)
0207 2193000 (this is the Parliament switchboard: simply ask for Ruth Kelly MP’s office)
0207944 4400 (this is the Communities and Local Government Department switchboard: ask for Ruth Kelly).
E-mail: PSRuthkelly@communities.gsi.gov.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
The contact details for the Women and Equality Unit are:
123 Victoria Street
London SW1E 6DE
Helpline: 0207 944 4400 (08:30-17:30 Mon-Fri)
|"Guidance" update from the Lawyers Christian Fellowship -
The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship has today published Guidance on the Sexual Orientation Regulations that come in to force 30th April 2007. Christians object to these Regulations because they will force them to become involved in promoting or facilitating homosexual lifestyles contrary to the practice and teaching of the Church down the centuries. Christians do not seek to refuse homosexuals access to restaurants and hospital lists and the whole myriad of basic goods and services to which they are entitled as individuals.
The Regulations are widely misunderstood. Those promoting them talk about the need to eradicate prejudice against homosexuals not realising that without the necessary safeguards these Regulations are creating a new prejudice against those who want to live according to traditional Christian (and other mainstream beliefs) that teach that all sex outside heterosexual marriage is wrong. This should concern all those who believe in freedom of conscience and in the value of our Judeo-Christian heritage.
When 99 out of 100 printing shops are non-religious and would happily print material promoting homosexuality we believe it is unjustified to legislate against the one Christian printer to make it illegal for him to refuse to print that material. Striking a fair balance in these circumstances should allow reasonable accommodation for those motivated by conscience.
The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship has produced Guidance on the new law which is available at: - http://www.lawcf.org/index.asp?page=Sexual+Orientation+Regulations+GUIDANCE
The Guidance should be read in conjunction with the Frequently Asked Questions document available at: - http://www.lawcf.org/index.asp?page=Sexual+Orientation+Regulations+FAQ+pack
Please see debate in The Times this week to understand how the Regulations are being misunderstood: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/columnists/david_pannick/article1692580.ece