THINKING ANGLICANS

Hereford diocese responds on tribunal judgment

Press Statement by the Diocese of Hereford:

TRIBUNAL DECISION IS MIXED BLESSING FOR CHURCH

The Employment Tribunal in which the Board of Finance of the Diocese of Hereford, was accused of Sexual Discrimination has issued its judgement. The Tribunal found in favour of the plaintiff, accepting that the Diocese did discriminate against Mr. John Reaney in not appointing him to the post of Youth Officer within the Diocese.

Commenting after receiving the Tribunal’s Judgement, The Bishop of Hereford, Anthony Priddis, who gave evidence at the hearing, said he was disappointed but not completely down. “The Tribunal accepted that I did not ‘interrogate’ Mr Reaney and that I had acted in accordance with the teachings of the Church of England. It also recognised that the post of Diocesan Youth Officer falls within the small number of posts outside of the clergy which are within the religious exemptions of the Sexual Discrimination Act Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.”

The House of Bishops teaching document “Issues in Human Sexuality” spells out in some detail the General Synod statements that the Church upholds the teaching that sexual relationships belong within marriage and that this high standard to which all people are called is especially expected of those in leadership within the Church.

That policy was endorsed by a General Synod motion of 1987, the Lambeth Conference of 1998 and the House of Bishop’s teaching document “Issues in Sexuality”. That policy, to which the Bishop of Hereford fully subscribes, is that those of homosexual orientation are wholly welcome and entitled to participate in the full life of the Church of England

It is the duty of every Bishop to uphold spiritual, moral and ethical standards and the Tribunal agreed. However, in the light of the tribunal decision the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance will now again look at its recruitment literature to make clear the teaching and requirements of the church in respect of the lifestyle of those in leadership roles.

In the light of the Tribunal decision, the Board of Finance will be taking further legal advice with a view to appeal.

The references above to “Sexual Discrimination” and to the “Sexual Discrimination Act” are what the press release says. They would appear to be errors. The case relates to the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.

The second reference has now been corrected on the diocesan website.

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Ford Elmsmynsterpreost (=David Rowett)NPChristopher ShellL Roberts Recent comment authors
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badman
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badman

Blimey. Not an ounce of regret or contrition from the Bishop, then.

L Roberts
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L Roberts

A lot of special pleading and misinformation —they do not even know which Laws are relevant ! Issues is NOT a ‘teaching document’ it is an old discussion document. Opinion is divided in the CofE., with a lot of people in favour of living and letting live. The anti-gay minority are very vocal in protest, and completely uninterested in the views or feelings of other people. They are not interested in lesbian and gay people or our families and friends. Mudch of the general public is appalled by their vicious homophobia. How Antony Priddis can claim that he welcomes gay… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

L Roberts says “Opinion is divided in the CofE., with a lot of people in favour of living and letting live.” L Roberts – you seem to be in a state of denial about the CofE……yes, there are a few people who agree with you but it is a small minority in the CofE and an even smaller minority in the AC. People on TA do not like it when I talk about the strong nos in Reform, Alpha and Fulcrum churches…..but you are making up your numbers, pretending that a majority are quite happy with your views when they… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Laurie, the bishop made all sorts of strange claims for “authority” in his evidence.

Perhaps Simon might find a way of putting it up somewhere – it is breathtaking!

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Yes, Martin, it would be lovely if it could be put up somewhere.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

This sums up only too well why the Church is no place for gay people. I shall never return. Not a word of admitting they were wrong – just more homophobia.

No wonder church attendance continues to fall. If this is ‘Christianity’, then its time it was laid to rest.

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

NP feel free ! How could I possibly object to your hobbies ? I am not really too bothered about numbers you know—they can’t decide truth. I’ve lived in the bad old days when the Law saw us gay boys and men as criminals, and though it said we were ‘a piteous minority’, we also had the power to bring down civilisation as we knew it ! I survived through my childhood and teens, being, as far as I knew , more or less in a minority of one. You can imagine that after being in that tiny minority, and… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

“but you are making up your numbers, pretending that a majority are quite happy with your views”

http://www.inclusivechurch.net/news.html?id=30

badman
Guest
badman

I see NP is off topic again. The Tribunal accepted that the religious exemption applied to the post in question, but they found that the interviewee had been directly and indirectly discriminated against on the grounds of his sexual orientation in a way which was not within the religious exemption and which broke the law. We must wait to see the decision, but no doubt this was because the interviewee was, in fact, celibate at the time, and offered to remain so until further notice. The teaching of the Church of England, if there is such a thing, is very… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

badman
I strongly agree that we should await the text of the judgement and not accept the diocesan press release’s paraphrasing as a perfect summary.

NP
Guest
NP

I agree L Roberts – ‘Let right be done.’ The questin is, of course, what is right? Martin Reynolds – hmmmm…you think that survey is strong evidence? If you do, I wonder how we have come to see Dromantine, The Windsor Report, The Tanzania Communique and now even the CofE accepting the idea of a covenant aimed at strengthening discipline in the church…..obviously focussed at the moment at TEC. Does not look like what you want is really that widely acceptable….unless you want to claim the Primates and the synods are wildly out of touch with reality….but nos in liberal… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

“The teaching of the Church of England, if there is such a thing, is very clear: absolutely no objection can be taken to the lifestyle of a celibate gay man, and discrimination against homosexuals is immoral and wrong (the Archbishop of Canterbury has emphasised this point repeatedly in recent years).”

Does Dean (not Bishop) Jeffrey John have a comment on this?

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

Why do folks continue to debate with trolls?

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

badman Issues acknolwegdes and accepts loving, sexual relationships between all church members except ministers. While it was a highly flawed document there was that one gain. Let’s hang on to it. I know it’s being ignored in the hope that we will forget it said that. BUT I shan’t. As the bishops and *Pensions dept have accepted the civil partnerships of ministers too, it looks like we are home and dried. All the bishops have to do is start living up to these commitments. Or are they too intellectually promiscuous ? OR have they been misleading us, the way in… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

badman Issues acknowledges and accepts loving, sexual relationships between all church members except ministers. While it was a highly flawed document there was that one gain. Let’s hang on to it. I know it’s being ignored in the hope that we will forget it said that. BUT I shan’t. As the bishops and *Pensions dept have accepted the civil partnerships of ministers too, it looks like we are home and dried. All the bishops have to do is start living up to these commitments. Or are they too intellectually promiscuous ? OR have they been misleading us, the way in… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Because it seems – as the Diocese admits in its press release – that in fact, very few posts indeed other than clergy will be covered looking at the judgment, and even so, they will have to be VERY careful indeed about asking any questions.
Have a look at the solicitors statement. If this was anything other than a disater for the diocese, they wouldn’t be talking about appealing. They are livid!

Tom
Guest
Tom

What is truly worrying about the Diocesan reaction is that there continues to be “split-thinking” here. Basically if a person’s gender/sexuality/relationships are not formally bought to Bishop’s attention then life continues as usual – but if the Bishop is confronted with it then he has to act. The logic would be for all clergy and lay licensed staff to have to submit to the kind of investigations which John Reaney was required to undergo – there would be so many clergy and staff that would respond positively that there would be an outcry if all their post were withdrawn. In… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

Unless I misremember, didn’t the applicant say that he wasn’t in a gay relationship, and wouldn’t enter one while he held his position? If that is the case, how is the bishop’s action consistent with Church teaching? The applicant agrees to obey the rules and still doesn’t get the job because he MIGHT break the rules?

David H.
Guest

Ford asks, “If that is the case, how is the bishop’s action consistent with Church teaching?”

It isn’t (I love easy questions 😉

Listen carefully, everyone – the Bishop. is. a. bigot. Right then, that clears everything up.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

The bishop said he did not believe him, Ford.

The case for the bishop revolved around this point.

badman
Guest
badman

Ford Elms, your’re right, the bishop’s action was not consistent with church teaching. That is why he lost. That is why the defeat is worse than if he had lost the technical point about whether the religious exemption applied to this post. The statement of the Archbishop’s Council today accepts that point – it does not claim that the bishop’s action was consistent with church teaching, and it emphasises the facts which you have mentioned. It is only the Bishop who still says that he made the right decision. If he sticks to that line, I think he ought to… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Why do folks continue to debate with trolls?

Kurt I am sure you would not deny me such simple pleasures.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

LOL – Fr Prior!
Jeffrey, bless him, remains speechless!!

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

NP we seem to have done a role reversal ! You all liberal and questioning what is right –brava !

And I all fundament-alist and grounded in what I KNOW to be the truth.

You, wonderfully open and questioning. Me, all closed in my simple certainty .

So glad you like the play too. I am thinking of re-doing it in the setting of an anglican seminary, and rather than a lost postal order, it could be lost virginity or something like that perhaps.

Brian MacIntyre
Guest
Brian MacIntyre

“…the strong nos in Reform, Alpha and Fulcrum churches…”

Strong no’s. What an appropriate phrase. How sad for them (however many they happen to be, which is quite irrelevant) that they are being required to operate by the same standards of public MORALITY (yes, MORALITY) as everyone else.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Believing that you are right is not the same thing as being right. Remember Tony Blair, the weapons of mass destruction and the Iraq war? The Bishop has been found to be wrong in law and clearly the Archbishops Council doesn’t disagree. So either the bishop holds his hands up and admits he was wrong or he should resign, because he has broken the law and won’t accept the law of the land. I hope the tribunal awards exemplary damages against the diocese and the bishop himself.

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

“However, in the light of the tribunal decision the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance will now again look at its recruitment literature…”

Is this the only lesson the Board can learn? A review of its literature?

I must admit to being a bit baffled by the conflicting statements issued by the various parties. They don’t add up. It’s like an elaborate game of Cluedo.

All will be made clear tomorrow I trust.

NP
Guest
NP

L Roberts – I am glad that you see I am not against asking questions….I just want convincing answers.

For all the gloating I see on TA against +Hereford, I think some people are missing the significance of the Archbishop’s Council’s statement…..i.e. CofE policy has NOT been changed and is within the current law…..this is the most important legal point from all this.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

NP dear,

The “important legal point of this” is that CofE policy has been b r e a c h e d by the good Bishop.

Breached.

NP
Guest
NP

Goran – your comment does not make sense but do see the comment from Peter Ould on his website….this decision has given the precedent for the CofE to implement Lambeth 1.10 legally for lay people too….it is actually a lot better than I first thought as a decision

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Absolutely no exception can be taken to the lifestyle of a celibate gay man?

How about that aspect of their lifestyle that teaches the precise opposite to Christians concerning certain behaviours? What one teaches is part of one’s lifestyle.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“…that aspect of their lifestyle that teaches….”

Shall I tell you of my “gay lifestyle” Christopher? It’s not much different from most other people’s I shouldn’t think. What is the stereotype of gay people that seems to so guide your attitudes? How is it different from that of most straight people? Promiscuity? Drugs? If you think these are somehow less prominent among straight people than among gay people, you are moving among a group of atypically chaste and sober straight people. Oh, right, Cameron. Gotcha.

Pluralist
Guest

The judgment had it that very few posts are those where lay people should behave like clergy, and even then it said celibacy should not be expected of lay people. Because the bishop did not believe John Reaney and denied him the job, he was found to have discriminated. But he could have been found for discriminating otherwise, that celibacy is not expected for lay people.

In any case, it is about time it was changed for clergy and lay people.

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Clergy are allowed to enter civil partnerships at registry offices, in accordance with the law of the land.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Yes, that is the case: wherever you find Christians they will practically always, tho’ not always, be more chaste and sober (in the wholesome sense of ‘sober’) than the average in their society. The pity is that I needed to point out this obvious fact at all. However it does bring into clear relief the point that is often made these days. Which is: just as America is two nations now, the Anglicans are two communities. And the clearest dividing line is this: In some there is an expectation of transformation and in some there is none. Why? Because some… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“In some there is an expectation of transformation and in some there is none.”

Completely untrue.

NP
Guest
NP

Ford – it is true that some think no transformation is required for certain sins – not greed or materialism on which the bible still has authority in everyone’s eyes, just certain sins do not now require repentance, we are told by some

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

NP: sin requires repentance, individual or corporate. That’s a QED. However, what your slightly peculiar framework cannot cope with is the belief of some of us that, just possibly, faithful homosexual relationships are not sinful, and therefore that repentance is unnecessary or even wrong. Should I repent of not stoning my disobedient son? The RC’s accept that actions done after a thorough consideration of the issues which are done in conscience, even if they contravene Church teaching, are not classified as sinful – the use of artificial contraception being a case in point. What most of us on this blog… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“certain sins do not now require repentance”

It’s getting to be really funny how you make numerous such statements while being completely blind to how they apply to yourself! You can’t even see it when it is pointed out to you! Too many exclamation points, but this gives me such a chuckle.