Many will be familiar with the cases such as Lillian Ladele who was dismissed for wanting to reschedule her duties as a registrar to avoid performing civil-partnerships and Gary McFarlane who refused to work as a counsellor with same-sex couples as a matter of religious conscience. These cases have been lost in court and are now among a number that are heading to the European Commission for Human Rights to be heard.
Early in the noughties, the then Government legislated on discrimination covering sexual orientation, religion and race followed by published guidelines. It appeared to be a level playing field . . . until cases started landing in court that is. It quickly became apparent that as cases were being heard, a hierarchy emerged and the weakest suit in the deck was faith and conscience. It soon became clear that where a case involved both sexual orientation and religious conscience, the former would win and trump the latter. Even where victories were gained, they were lost on appeal in the higher courts and in some cases, the Lords refused to hear cases beyond the high court.
This was a Stonewall victory that did not happen over night. There had been a long and persistent strategy. Lobbying, cosseting, infiltrating prominent positions, outing turning the mind of the nation. Even now, the drum still bangs. Not content with civil partnership, pressure is being brought to persuade legislation for same-sex ‘marriage’.
I could harp on infinitum, but I’ll save that for another day. My main point of posting is that the EHRC has announced a somewhat more tempered approach to future cases which has certainly ruffled a few feathers in the pink camp. It has previously lent weight to cases against Christian businesses who have acted on religious conscience and not prejudice such as that of Christian hotel owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull of Marazion in Cornwall. Even after a victory in court, the EHRC were set to mount an appeal for higher damages, but pulled out amid bad press earlier this year.
I digress. It is now reported that the commission is intervening in four legal cases heading for Europe, believing that British courts have not done enough to defend the rights of Christians. For myself, I agree that the courts have failed Christians and I spent time with my own MP, Annette Brook, and told her that Christians can’t get a fair hearing in Britain any more. I really appreciated her candour and appreciated the time she gave me. I welcome the news, but I am also aware that the commission is also wanting to avoid precedents set outside our borders and may be opting for the lesser of two evils. I would love to be proved wrong.
The fact is, Christianity will never be popular as long as it holds to Biblical values. Jesus said that the world would hate us and he was right. Even David Cameron wants to create the church in his own image. Rather than holding to what we believe, we should ‘be more open-minded and tolerant’. The problem is that definitions change in a historical sense, ‘tolerant’ used to mean ‘respectfully disagreeing’. Now it means that you’re forbidden to question anything you don’t agree with. In engineering terms, tolerance is the margin built-in before the whole thing collapses!
This is the world we now live in. We can’t turn the clock back and land the country back in the middle of a great awakening. That we have to work for through prayer and perseverance.