Thinking Anglicans

Hereford case: judgment published

The Employment Tribunal in Cardiff will formally publish its judgment tomorrow in the case of John Reaney v the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance.

TA’s previous report on this was in April: see Hereford case: hearing concludes and my Church Times article is here: Reaney judgment awaited.

Subsequently, the following article was published in the Hereford diocesan magazine: DIOCESE AWAITS YOUTH OFFICER TRIBUNAL DECISION.

Today, the Hereford Times carries this report:

Bishop of Hereford loses case
By Mark Bowen

A gay man has won his discrimination case against the Bishop of Hereford.

John Reaney,who was backed by gay rights group Stonewall, is celebrating today’s (Thursday) employment tribunal decision.

Mr Reaney was interviewed by a panel of eight people for the post of Youth Officer in the Diocese of Hereford last summer.

But an unanimous decision to appoint him was blocked by the Bishop of Hereford after a meeting Mr Reaney looks set to secure substantial compensation.

In its judgement, the Tribunal said: The Respondents discriminated against the claimant on the grounds of sexual orientation.The case will now be listed for a remedy hearing.’

John Reaney said: ‘I’m delighted that the Bishop of Hereford has lost this case. It demonstrates to many lesbian and gay Christians working for God within the Church of England that they are entitled to fair and respectful treatment.”

The case was heard over four days in Cardiff in April.

The diocese called a press conference for 9.30 am. More information about that will be published here when received.

Meanwhile, Mr Reaney’s solicitors have published this press release:John Reaney wins case against Church of England:

…His solicitor Alison Downie, partner at Bindman & Partners said:
“My client is pleased that he has won his claim. The Bishop and the Diocese were wrong and unlawfully discriminated against him because he is a gay man in refusing to appoint an excellent candidate to the post of Youth Officer. In this landmark test case the Tribunal found not only that he suffered direct discrimination but that if necessary they would have found indirect discrimination in the Diocese imposing a requirement of celibacy for lay people in employment within the Church. It is highly regrettable that the Bishop acted as he did and that my client lost a year of his life in bringing this claim to right the wrong done to him”.

And Stonewall Cymru has published this one: Stonewall Cymru celebrates tribunal victory against Bishop of Hereford:

…Matthew Batten, Stonewall Cymru’s Policy Officer, said: ‘This outcome is a triumph for 21st century decency over 19th century prejudice. We’re very happy for John. The tribunal has rightly made clear that the Church of England cannot discriminate against gay people with impunity. No one, not even a Bishop, is exempt from the law.’

And the BBC reports the decision as Bishop loses gay employment case:

…The Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, said he was “naturally disappointed” and may appeal…

…speaking to a news conference in Hereford on Wednesday, the Bishop said: “I still think the decision I made was the right one.”

“I regret the polarisation of view which takes place when these things happen,” he said, adding he had made the decision after a “great deal of prayer and contemplation”.

Press Association report: Gay man wins Church tribunal claim

For the diocesan press release go here.

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NP
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NP

Not surprising – the law of the land is decided by a liberal government ……the more important question is whether the bishop did the right thing in terms of biblical teaching re appropriate leaders/workers in the church.

The law in England may disagree with the bishop’s stance….but would St Paul??

I bet the court would not have given the same decision against a mosque!

David Reid
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David Reid

This man was treated apallingly. Of course he was refused the position because he was homosexual and on what the Bishop thought he may do in the future, which is ridiculous. It is disgusting that the Bishop of Hereford on being found guilty of discrimination still claims he believes his decision was the right one. A little contrition may go a long way. This bishop has treated this man badly and cost the church a considerable amount in compensation, he should now be disciplined. The Church of England is not above the law of the land and is in fact… Read more »

L Roberts
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L Roberts

“I regret the polarisation of view which takes place when these things happen,” he said, adding he had made the decision after a “great deal of prayer and contemplation.” The Bishop.

Yes, he fails to see that his behaviour and attitudes caused the polarisation, in the first place;and he is still claiming a rectitude, which the Law and most parishoners refute.

L Roberts
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L Roberts

Paul has been dead a long time. The same Laws apply to Mosques. AS for ‘biblical teaching;’ ‘appropriate to church leaders / workers’ I was interested to notice when I recieved an update on my CofE pension projection, an accompanying booklet which included a section headed Civil Partnerships. The bishops, the Archbishops’ Council accepted civil partnerships into Church Law without a murmour. GS of course wasnt consulted, but we now know it would rather leave such matters to Father anyway (Synod’s ‘Covenant’ cop-out). They are too cowardly or lazy to take on the Government, but job applicants are fair game.… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

The Bishop added: “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.” This is the devious double talk and deceit we have had to put up with for years. Sexuality IS an ‘issue’. There is no ‘lifestyle’ just life. Just people living their lives. Priddis means that a youth worker must not fall in love with another. ‘Outside marriage’ ? Please, the Church blocked marriage for all–or at least the use of the M word, but civil partnerships do enable lesbian and… Read more »

Fern
Guest
Fern

NP, that’s a difficult argument you’re trying to make since it’s questionable whether Paul’s society would recognise homosexuality as identity in the way ours does. The conservative (for want of a better word) line is that they have no problem with gay people, only with gay sexual behaviour. So, logically, once the youth worker had given assurances that he was not and had no intention of being in a sexual relationship with another man, that should have sufficed for the bishop. That it clearly didn’t rather gives the lie to the line that it’s all about behaviour and not people.… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Pretty good NP, coming from someone who announced hereabouts a few months back that he is a Labour supporter. If you answered the question I asked at that time as to whether by “Labour”, you actually meant “Blairite”, I missed your reply.

NP
Guest
NP

L Roberts – you mention your CofE pension and Civil Partnerships……maybe the church would not have to deal with the issue if it had only ordained people who did uphold the teaching of the church, as they promised to do when ordained?

I am sorry but one of the things we so called “conservatives” find hard to take is that people have made vows which just have not been kept by many…..unless people made vows to uphold only the teaching of the church with which they agree? (not the case, the last time I looked)

NP
Guest
NP

Fern – yes, but the bishop was probable being wise given that the man had recently come out of a relationship…..he did not have a track record of being Lambeth 1,10 compliant. I think you will find that St Paul lived in a time in which Greeks and Romans were more open to things he preached against than even our Western societes are today….he knew what he was talking about (remember, he is the revolutionary who told Peter that he had to accept gentiles – he was no traditionalist and certainly no fool – he knew he was talking about… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
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Hugh of Lincoln

“The Respondents discriminated against the claimant on the grounds of sexual orientation”

Just twelve words demolish the Church’s policy to distinguish between orientation and practice. At least in relation to a small number of lay posts. How can you separate a person from a person’s life? Utter folly.

It remains to be seen whether the judgement will influence the Church’s fudged thinking on gay clergy.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

But the bishop can’t do that, NP. Its illegal!

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

NP

What voews ?

I do not recall being asked to take any vows–least of all one of celibacy.

I explain on the other thread how my partner and I were open at theological college and with my gay ordaining bishop and the Southwark DDO. And with my training rector too—-of course.

Our 34 th anniversary approaches NP –why not rejoice a little with us or for us ? We have found that of God in each other. You have nothing to fear.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I bet the court would not have given the same decision against a mosque!”

Keep going, NP. Do you need more rope?

“he is the revolutionary”

I agree St. Paul is a revolutionary, but I’m surprised to hear you say so. I would think that such rebelliousness as Paul showed would be enough to make you condemn him roundly. I mean, he actively disobeyed Scripture!

“just as he talks about other things which are very strong tempatations for me”

But you obviously don’t take what he said seriously, NP.

NP
Guest
NP

Ford – I will ignore your insult given it is based on no evidence…..but as for St Paul “disobeying scripture” – you will know that 2000 years of church history has given his teaching a certain authority which not many think is equalled by Spong or VGR who want to contradict Paul – so, yes, I am happy to follow Paul’s revolutionary ideas but that does not mean one should be open to innovation as a result.

JCF
Guest
JCF

+VGR *doesn’t* contradict St. Paul, NP, so your point is?

Congrats to Mr. Reaney. Since justice upheld for the people IS the work of the Gospel, then ALLELUIA!!! 😀

[L Roberts: Mozel Tov, to you and your partner! :-)]

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Many thanks JCF !
Much appreciated.

Baruch haShem !

NP
Guest
NP

JCF asserts “+VGR *doesn’t* contradict St. Paul, NP, so your point is?” JCF – very few, even in the AC, are convinced by your assertion……even the ABC admits that and he is closer to you than me on this issue. Right – am I missing something here? People on TA are telling me conservative views are in a minority and now St Paul would be quite happy with VGR…..You do know St Paul wrote that leaders must not be drunks? You do know what he wrote about marriage….and divorce? I guess I am getting “revisionist” replies….but please do look at… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“your insult given it is based on no evidence” See elsewhere. As to the rest, NP, there was no Christian Scripture before Paul. You are aware that the Old Testament was the only Scripture Paul recognized, right? Jesus didn’t come from Heaven with a book under His arm. What Paul wrote was radically different from the Scripture he knew. Jews in his time, just like now, weren’t Christians, NP. Thus, by virtue of the fact that Paul wrote, preached, taught, and died for things that were contrary to Scripture, which in his day was the Old Testament, he was a… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Ford – you are so mistaken…..you should know that actually the whole OT is completely consistent with the gospel of Christ as he explained to very blessed people on the road to Emmaus….Paul was preaching this message ie Christ as the fulfillment of the OT…..have a look at “Gospel and Kingdom” ( by G Goldsworthy)

Hugh of Lincoln
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Hugh of Lincoln

“from Lambeth 1.10 to Dromantine to Windsor to Tanzania to the covenant”… to Cardiff

5-1 😉

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“the whole OT is completely consistent with the gospel of Christ” So why was He attacked so vehemently by the legalists of His day? Why was He accused of breaking the Law? (I know the answers to this, BTW, I’m just inquiring as to how you understand it) Why do I get the impression that you would have been one of the ones accusing Him? Paul opposed circumcision in opposition not only to the Law, but also to some of his fellow Christians. What about the obvious rebellion against the dietary laws? Come on, NP, this isn’t about justifying innovation… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Again Ford….it is about authority, as you know.

– I can take St Peter saying I can have a bacon sandwich but I really do not see the authority of VGR or KJS or Spong to change the bible today….in the end, this is why we have had Windsor and Tanzania – most of us in the AC just do not see the authority TEC has for its innovations (which is why we do not respect their actions)

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“it is about authority” Indeed. Why do you want to force the Church to accept your innovative belief that all authority rests in Scripture? The Bible is the second most important way in which God reveals himself to us, but it isn’t the only one. If you want to go against 1500 years of Church teaching, that’s your right, and you might even be correct in doing so, but it means you haven’t got any room to accuse others of disobeying the Church. I know you have been made to believe that the Reformation wasn’t an innovation. That’s sad. It… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

The problem with the conservative church and its religion is, quite simply, the bible and the authority they give it.

See John Spong and the jesus seminar. They have it right.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“See John Spong and the jesus seminar. They have it right.”

I would argue they have it dispiritingly and uninspiringly wrong.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Ford, “I would argue they have it dispiritingly and uninspiringly wrong.” Oh please, can we not stop separating people into those who have it right and those who have it wrong? I thought that’s what the extreme conservatives accuse us of so wrongly all the time. Can we not accept that there are as many ways of “hearing” God as there are people, that God finds a way of making himself known to each of us in the one way we are able to listen to him? Spong is clearly full of faith and passion, as you are in your… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Erika, I too think that people come to God in different ways. It isn’t for me to deny them their approach to God. Yet I cannot accept, for myself, two mutually exclusive positions. Unlike NP, I can accept such a thing within the Church. I can’t claim that it informs my belief in any way to say that I believe in an Incarnate God who rose from the dead, while at the same time denying that God beame a human being or that He rose from the dead. Spong was an example of someone who preaches things I can’t accept… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford, One of the most inspiring teachers I’ve ever known distinguished firmly between literal truth and theological truth. Thus, whether Jesus’ miracles actually happened or not is irrelevant, it’s the deeper truth they point to that matters. Put simply, a house can have many entrances, a grand portal, a shabby back door and a few side entrances too. It doesn’t matter which way you use to enter. What’s important is that you continue to be focused on the centre of the house towards which you’re going. If you stand still and believe that the door matters, rather than the journey… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford, Our faith is just that – faith, not physical science. So at the heart of it we cannot possibly know which of our beliefs is right or wrong. We can prayerfully walk the road we hope to be right, but we cannot with any degree of honesty say that we are right and someone else is wrong. As you pointed out to NP before, do you think that God will reject you because your brain couldn’t accept some item of doctrine that is crucial for some other people? That God cares one bit about us having the right theology?… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Erika,
You seem to think that I feel what is wrong for me is wrong in some absolute sense. I don’t. I agree with everything you posted. I’m not sure what we are talking about here, since I see your post above and my post to which is was a response as saying the same thing.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford,
I think I objected to you calling Spong “wrong”, when you really meant “not credible to me”. Maybe I’m just a bit too sensitive because I’m so tired of being called absolutely and objectively wrong by so many on this site. Apologies!

NP
Guest
NP

Hmmmm – now we cannot say that anything is right or wrong???

– you know the Lord was not a postmodernist?
He not only taught there was right and wrong (and terrible consequences for being wrong, by the way), he also taught there is truth and falsehood and some would teach in his name but be false teachers…he even taught that he is the Truth……but I guess Erika would have told him that he should moderate his statements and add the caveat that what he said was merely his view?

NP
Guest
NP

Ford – re your points re authority…..please recognise that I have 2000 yrs of church tradition on my side too….and even the CofE official line (as well as RC etc etc) would not want to see VGR as a bishop – yes, I think the bible is more authoritative than the sinful church made up of sinners like me…..but you are not right in claiming that it is the only authority on which I am relying – not sure why you want to bring up the church’s view as authoritative…..it is exactly that authority which TEC has rejected in 2003

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

We all have our triggers, Erika! No worries.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“terrible consequences for being wrong” And you try to tell me your faith isn’t based on fear? God will roast you for all eternity if you believe the wrong thing. But how is anyone to know what the right thing is amid all the clamour of voices claiming to be right? Even those whose answer is that it is written in Scripture can’t agree, so how am I to know? Oh, right, Jesus said “by their fruits shall you know them”. So, who is bearing the fruit of the Gospel, those who actually show love and forbearance and compassion for… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Hmmmm – now we cannot say that anything is right or wrong??? NP

NO I am saying there is right and wrong ; and that on this issue, you NP are wrong and unbiblical. QED

That clear enough for you ?

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

NP observed magically
“I think the bible is more authoritative than the sinful church”

Umm, so who wrote the Bible? The Archangel Gabriel? Or did the sinfulness of the writers magically switch off whenever they picked up their stylus? And have you considered the implications of a God who can switch off sinfulness when he wants to (so we get Leviticus perfectly, but Mugabe stays in power….)

Typical magical thinking – have you been on the Harry Potter again?

NP
Guest
NP

L Roberts – I am relieved that some on TA still accept the notions of right and wrong so thanks for saying you think I am wrong…..and I guess you think Lambeth 1.10 is wrong too? Ford – do you want to blot out what the Lord said on judgment? Would you accuse him of using fear tactics? Should we not today tell people what he said about the consequences of not following him and taking up our crosses in order to do so? Ford and Mynster – I know you realise that before we had the church institutions from… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

The Bible itself is tradition – verbal tradition. It is also human. It does not escape the circle we all live within, that we create.

I/m not sure Jesus would recognise much of this religion as to do with what he was (likely) talking about.

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Pluralist I agree. Jesus would be speechless at this religion.

NP
Guest
NP

THe reason we (libs and evos) go round in circles when we try to engage is that some think, like Pluralist, that the bible is merely “human” and others believe it is inspired by the Spirit of God….this is the at the heart of the split we see occurring in the AC…….bring on the covenant so we know whether the AC is for those who believe we have God’s revealed will and those who say he is telling them something new

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

No, NP, the reason we keep going around in circles is that we have two different concepts of SCriptural authority. One, the older, traditional concept, is that the Bible is the Church’s book, given to Her by God. It was God who inspired it, God who helped the Church discern which writings were inspired, and God who guides us to interpret it. It is comples, multilayered, and because the revelation came through men, flawed. That is, unless you believe insects have four legs. The other attitude is that the Bible is some sort of Divine Dictation, that it may contain… Read more »

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

NP “I know you realise that before we had the church institutions from C2 to now, there were the scriptures”

Aha! So only the first generation of Christians were sinless when they picked up the pen! And presumably all the OT authors were blameless as well…..

This is the theology of the fortune cookie…..

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

“others believe it is inspired by the Spirit of God”

please distinguish between ‘inspired’ and ‘dictated’. I think you will find that most Christians believe Scripture to be inspired.

You really have swallowed the ConsEv line, haven’t you? Where on earth did your parish presbyter train?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Mynster, It’s not just fortune cookie theology, it is a rewriting of history. I’m trying to get at what NP thinks Scripture is and how we got it. His attitude seems to be similar to that of Muslims towards the Koran, that it was essentially dictated by God and existed from eternity. I’m not sure how he can think that people had the New testament before it was even written, but I hope, likely in vain, to get an answer. I get the feeling he has this image of people eagerly thumbing through their Bibles for a verse to take… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

The problems with the category ‘theological truth’ are many: (1) What if one person says something is theologically true and another says it is theologically false? (2) Are we living in a bifurcated world: the ‘theological’ bit and the ‘normal’ bit? When I woke up this morning I was in only one world. (3) The door is open to esotericism and hucksters. Now this may ‘look’ like a piece of bread, but actually…. ‘Stone the crows, it still looks like a piece of bread to me.’ (4) The door is open for people to impose their own preexisting ideologies and… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Mynster – the answer to your question is Ridley Hall

Yes – “inspired”….i.e. not to be read as merely St Paul’s or Moses’ opinions

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher, 1) We have a schism, or, if you prefer, a Reformation. 2) I don’t see why you think theology somehow separated frm reality. Surely God is the only reality that truly matters, so attempts to understand Him can’t be divorced from reality. Is it the abstraction that bothers you, if you can’t relate to it in some concrete sense, then you can’t relate? I really worry about your seeming desire to understand God in concrete material terms, as if He must be governed by the things we can perceive and understand. 3) Well, someone once said of a piece… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford
“1) We have a schism, or, if you prefer, a Reformation.”

Or we continue to worship side by side, safe in the knowledge that God will love both of us regardless of our differences.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Yes, Erika, but, as St. John Crysostom said “The desire to rule is the mother of all heresies.” I find it sad, yet somewhat funny, how those who most loudly denounce Holy Tradition as “the traditions of men” are those who most stand to learn from it. Ah well, those who demand a community of the pure are destined to fail, since very few of us reach such a state this side of the grave, and, for the past several centuries, it seems most of them are in the Orthodox East.