(see included news from Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt universities; and also "Drugs case" raised by George Hargreaves - SCP leader)
10th April 2007
"But the Angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen...! He is going before you to Galilee..." Matthew Ch 28 v 5-7
Our Wonderful Saviour has indeed risen. As we consider the challenges ahead, we are encouraged by these verses:
1.) We need not be afraid 2.) We serve a risen Lord 3.) He has gone ahead of us
The Bishop of Hereford, Anthony Priddis has been accused of unlawful discrimination because he blocked the appointment of a practising homosexual to a youth worker post within the Church of England. The gay campaign group Stonewall has supported the case against the Bishop, which was heard in an Employment Tribunal in Cardiff last week. The result in the case is expected in 3 weeks’ time. See below for more details of this case and others (also see the link below to newspaper coverage of the case).
We will be producing a guidance document for churches, charities, individuals and organisations who are concerned about the impact of the Sexual Orientation Regulations when they come into force on the 30th April. In the meantime, please read and distribute our Frequently Asked Questions pack (see link, below) which deals with over 30 of the most commonly asked questions about the SORs.
The Charities Act 2006 removed the legal presumption that faith-based groups provide a “public benefit” – a requirement of an organisation for it to gain charitable status and all the associated benefits. It is concerning that it will be up to the Charity Commission to decide whether they think Christian groups are providing a public benefit: certain groups (such as those dedicated to evangelising people of other religions, or street preaching) could well be rejected. There is currently a consultation (which closes on the 6th June) on the draft Government guidance on this issue. A link to the consultation is provided below. We will provide more information on this matter in future updates.
If you are a lawyer or have a specific interest in Christian litigation, don’t forget to book a place on our ground-breaking Litigation Academy (17th-18th May) with world leaders on this area from the American Alliance Defense Fund giving the keynote addresses. See below for more details.
Please also book a place on the Living Waters conference “The Time for Truth – Understanding the Causes and Healing of Homosexuality” (22nd-23rd June) which is being sponsored by Anglican Mainstream, CARE and The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship. See below for more details.
· The Times newspaper coverage of the Bishop of Hereford’s Employment Tribunal case can be found at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article1615541.ece
· The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship SOR Frequently Asked Questions document can be found at http://www.lawcf.org/index.asp?page=SOR+FREQUENTLY+ASKED+QUESTIONS
· The Charity consultation on the question of whether organisations are providing a ‘public benefit’ can be found at
Employment case against the Bishop of Hereford
The Bishop of Hereford, Anthony Priddis has been accused of unlawful discrimination because he blocked the appointment of a practising homosexual to a youth worker post within the Church of England. He did not consent to the appointment in line with the Church of England’s policy of not employing practising homosexuals within the church. The legal action is being launched under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003. The hearing opened in Cardiff on Wednesday 4th April, and is expected to last for a couple more days next week. The result will not be known for some weeks. Although the employment regulations clearly contain protections which allow churches to refuse to employ practising homosexuals, lawyers representing the homosexual man will try to argue that this should only apply to the clergy. The Right Rev Anthony Priddis, said that John Reaney did not get the job because he had admitted having had sex outside marriage. The Bishop has denied unlawfully discriminating against Mr Reaney, stating that he has been complying with the teachings of the Church. He said that he told Mr Reaney that any person in a sexual relationship outside marriage, whether they were heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or transgender, would have been rejected for the post. “Such sexuality in itself was not an issue, but Mr Reaney’s lifestyle had the potential to impact on the spiritual, moral and ethical leadership within the diocese,” he said at the beginning of the case. These views on sex outside marriage are backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the General Synod, the national assembly of the Church of England, and the Lambeth Conference.
This is an important case which shows how ‘gay rights’ activists want to use the law to force churches to accept practising homosexuals on their staff
· That this case will be lost and that the religious liberty of Churches to adhere to Biblical teaching will be guaranteed.
· That the Bishop of Hereford and his legal team will be given wisdom in knowing how best to conduct their case.
· That God’s name will be glorified.
Exeter University Case
Christian students at Exeter University continue to bravely seek and secure freedom of religion, expression and association on campus. Since the official legal process began on 5th January 2007, a great deal of correspondence has been sent to and from the concerned parties, and a court date has been requested for the month of May. In the meantime the internal appeals procedure has been ongoing and has now reached a very critical point. Please pray for a strong and Godly resolution to this matter in favour of the Christian Union.
- For Ben Martin, who is the representative on behalf of the Christian Union in this case. Ben has shown incredible resilience and depth of faith. Please pray that God will continue to give Ben the strength and wisdom.
- For Ben’s barrister, LCF member Paul Diamond, that he will be given wisdom in knowing how best to conduct the case. Pray that his arguments will be effective, clear, and full of Biblical truth.
Christian Unions at Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt Universities
The situation at the Universities in Scotland is moving at a slightly slower pace than Exeter. Edinburgh Christian Union is still seeking the right to use University facilities on campus to hold the PURE course. A series of letters have been exchanged between the Christian Union and the University authorities. The University authorities have conceded that the Christian Union should be allowed to use University facilities, but have placed upon them the condition that “alternative” literature (presumably promoting gay and lesbian and other lifestyle choices) on the issue of chastity and sexual restraint be placed wherever the course is held. The Christian Union have recently written to the University authorities stating that this condition is unacceptable, and that no other society within the University has been asked to comply with such requirements. The restriction is thus unfair and arbitrary.
The Christian Union at Heriot-Watt are continuing to face pressure from the Student Association regarding their doctrinal basis. It is the contention of the Student Association that this doctrinal basis discriminates against non-Christians and as such breaches Equal Opportunities Policy.
- That these young men and women will continue to boldly proclaim God’s truth and know how to act most effectively.
Voluntary Euthanasia Society Case
A legal challenge under the Trademarks Act 1998 is being brought against the Voluntary Euthanasia Society by a number of organisations. Christian Medical Fellowship, ALERT, and The British Council Of Disabled People are bringing the action to object to VES changing its name and seeking to monopolise the phrase “Dignity in Dying.” The challenge is based upon the view that it is deceptive and immoral for an organisation that promotes patients choosing when to die by way of Euthanasia and the medical profession being involved in it to monopolise the term ‘dignity in dying’. The groups taking the case believe firmly promoting better palliative care and that true dignity in dying is achieved through the love and care of friends, family and healthcare professionals.
- Please pray this action will be successful and that Biblical teaching on Euthanasia will be heard in the public square.
Case of Lydia Playfoot
Lydia Playfoot is a 15 year old school girl and a committed Christian. In June 2004, she began to wear a ring known as “The Silver Ring Thing.” The ring was developed by American Christians, and is a sign of a promise to God of sexual abstinence until marriage. As such, for Lydia, it is a direct manifestation of faith, and an understanding of Biblical truth. Lydia was told to remove the ring as it breached health and safety requirements. However, Sikh girls in the school are permitted to wear traditional bangles. These bangles are not deemed to contravene health and safety rules. Lydia and her family have tried to amicably resolve the issue with the school, but the situation has reached an impasse. Lydia sought legal advice and has filed a case based on a violation of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights as incorporated into UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998. This Article states that:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion…freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are necessary in a democratic society….”
- For Lydia and her family as is due before the Court in the next few weeks, pray that God’s name will be glorified.
Case of Andrew McClintock
In January of this year, we reported how Christian Magistrate, Andrew McClintock, had lost his case requesting reasonable accommodation of his faith on the issue of same-sex adoption. Mr McClintock was forced to resign from membership of the Family Panel, as he believed that sanctioning same-sex adoption was forcing him to make judicial determinations incompatible with his statutory duties as a Magistrate in considering the best interests of the child and with his religious convictions as a committed Christian. Mr McClintock has lodged an appeal in his case.
The Reverend George Hargreaves Pastor of a Church in East London, has filed a Judicial Review against the Government’s re-classification of cannabis from a Class B to a Class C drug following the cannabis fuelled murder of a woman on a London East End estate. Please pray for all of those involved in the case, as they seek to protect society from a further erosion of ethical principles.
If you would like to support financially any of the above cases please consider making a donation to Christian Concern for our Nation specifying the case you wish to support or marked for the Christian Interest Litigation Fund. All such gifts will be placed in a restricted fund for the specified purpose. Please send the cheque to CCFON, PO Box 655, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 9AT.
This is a reminder that you need to BOOK NOW to avoid missing out on our ground-breaking UK Litigation Academy (17th-18th May).
If you want to have your outlook on law and Christianity radically challenged then join those who have already signed up to the 2-day, fully catered conference (the booking form is available at www.lawcf.org, under ‘Events’).
Every single Christian lawyer struggles with how best to use their legal skills to glorify Christ. This conference will open the door to Christian litigation: an often misunderstood notion, but an area of growing importance. The conference will address the theological, jurisprudential, pragmatic and principled issues which underpin such litigation.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you there.
Understanding Homosexuality conference
“The Time for Truth – Understanding the Causes and Healing of Homosexuality” Friday 22nd – Saturday 23rd June. Conference to be held in central London: details of the venue and directions will be provided by e-mail 2 weeks prior to the event.
The conference runs from 9:45am to 5:15pm both days with an additional presentation on the Friday from 7-9pm on the current situation in the UK. Attendees are encouraged to attend both days, but it is possible to attend just one of the two.
Speaker: Dr Joseph Nicolosi, President of National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. Dr Nicolosi is the world’s leading expert in Reparative Therapy for Ego-dystonic Homosexuality.
In 25 years of practice, Dr Joseph Nicolosi has worked with over a thousand men for whom same-sex attraction was not their chosen sexuality and who wanted to understand the roots of their homosexual struggle and the possibility of change. This conference seeks to raise awareness of the whole possibility and process of change and give hope to those who desire this. This is a conference for professional counsellors, psychotherapists, pastoral care givers, church leaders, those dealing with or affected by homosexuality, and anyone else who would like to find out more about these issues.
Dr Nicolosi will take a scientific rather than an explicitly spiritual approach and will focus on male same-sex attraction.
To book your place, please download the booking form at www.lawcf.org under ‘Events’, or e-mail email@example.com
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