When in Great Britain: Thoughts on Christianity and Conscience

Unlike family members, I’ve never been to Great Britain. Perhaps I’ll make it there one day before the islands sink under the weight of collective shame. Melanie Phillips brings us the latest:

In an unprecedented move, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, and other church leaders are calling upon the Master of the Rolls and other senior judges to stand down from future Court of Appeal hearings involving cases of religious discrimination because of the judges’ perceived bias against Christianity.

The churchmen believe that because of these judges’ past rulings, there is no chance of a ‘fair’ judgment if they hear the latest such case, which has been scheduled for Thursday .

This involves Gary McFarlane, formerly a Christian relationship counsellor for Relate. He is appealing against an employment tribunal ruling that upheld his sacking for refusing to give sex therapy to homosexual couples.

According to newspaper reports, Lord Carey has prepared a witness statement in support of Mr McFarlane in which he will apparently accuse the Court of Appeal of making a series of ‘disturbing’ judgments and being responsible for some ‘dangerous’ reasoning which could lead to Christians being banned from the workplace.

In the light of recent events, such fears are scarcely exaggerated. For Christianity is under relentless attack from secular British institutions, as a result of which the freedom of Christians to practise their religion is being lost.

We have the former head of the state church (though the current head is silent on the matter) stating that he cannot trust judges to be impartial when Christians are in the dock for matters related to the practice of their religion. This is the current state of affairs in the country that brought the world Hudson Taylor, Charles Spurgeon and any number of other remarkable followers of Christ.

To prevent discrimination against Christians being set in stone, Lord Carey wants religious discrimination cases to be heard by a special panel of judges with some knowledge of religious matters.

As an insult to some of the biggest wigs in the land, this could hardly be exaggerated. By throwing down the gauntlet to the judiciary in this way, Lord Carey is mounting a full-frontal challenge to some of those who most influence our society.

The situation has devolved to the point where a special court is being requested–in an attempt to get a fair hearing for Christians. It remains to be seen if this approach is successful, but I think it may be fairly characterized as fighting a rearguard action.

[E]nshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights is the right to exercise religious conscience.

Why, then, did the judges in this case set aside the Human Rights Convention, which they normally revere as holy Writ? Because, said Lord Neuberger, it only protected those religious beliefs which were ‘worthy of respect in a democratic society and are not incompatible with human dignity’.

So what the Master of the Rolls effectively seemed to be saying was that Christian beliefs are unworthy of respect in a democracy, and incompatible with human dignity . . . .

There you have it. Freedom for all–except those who are contemptible for their beliefs. Please read the entire article, if you have the time and understand that we have folks here (such as Martha Coakley) who believe that:

You can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.

We really have seen change, haven’t we?