THINKING ANGLICANS

CofE response to Hereford judgment

The Archbishops’ Council has issued a Statement on Judgement of Employment Tribunal between Mr John Reaney and the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance:

A spokesman for the Archbishops’ Council said:

“The broader issue raised by this case is whether there are posts, including some non clergy posts, where the religious exemptions permitted under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations can properly be applied by bishops and dioceses. The Tribunal has helpfully confirmed that there are. It also held that the role of Diocesan Youth Officer is such a post, though on the specific facts before it – and in particular Mr Reaney’s assurance that he would continue to live a life consistent with the teaching of the Church – concluded that the bishop had taken the wrong decision.

“The regulations will continue to provide important protection for churches and other religious organisations in ensuring that their recruitment policies can reflect the organisation’s beliefs.”

Notes

A statement from the Diocese of Hereford is available here.

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badman
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badman

I am glad to see the Archbishop’s Council does nothing at all to endorse the Bishop’s amazing statement at today’s press conference when he said “I still think the decision I made was the right one”. On the contrary, they note the facts which made his decision wrong, even with the benefit of the religious exemption. The decision that the religious exemption applied to the post in question, but that the Bishop’s conduct failed even the test of the religious exemption, is a very, very serious one from the Bishop’s point of view, and he shows no sign of comprehending… Read more »

L Roberts
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L Roberts

However, the Archbishops’ Council have not discussed this.

The important thing seems to be that this discourages openness. Very healthy.

The ‘spokesman’ goes against Issues and what it says about lay people’s relationships there.

Will lay people be asked to do something that clergy have not been asked to do , or have declined– the answering of such impertinent questions. I don’t see how the CofE can avoid decline, as it lacks moral sensibility and respect for people. GAy and lesbian people and our families run into millions of disaffected parishoners.

Merseymike
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Merseymike

They must be employing a spin doctor…fact is that in reality, the sort of questioning and approach taken by the Church will not be legal to repeat, and the number of posts with exemption other than clergy are very small indeeed.

Even the exemption cannot cover ‘possible future relationships’

John S
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John S

Am I right in thinking that the Archbishops’ Council’s statement that a Diocesan Youth Officer is covered by the permitted exemptions of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations conflicts with the opinion of John Reaney’s solicitor when she says, “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.”

Does anyone have a link to the text of the Tribunal’s judgement?

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Two cheers only for the judgement in this case? Judging from the reports I have read so far it seems to indicate that the Bishop was wrong to deny employment to a single gay man but may be right to deny it to one in a relationship. What happens when a single gay man is employed and then enters into a relationship, can he still be sacked by the bishop? Perhaps we need to see the final judgement, but if this exemption stands then there are still people employed by the church or eligible for employment who are vulnerable to… Read more »

Peter O
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Richard A,

You are of course correct. The judgement seems to raise a number of issues and precedents which may actually in the medium term strengthen the conservative position. I discuss this further here: http://www.peter-ould.net/2007/07/18/hereford-case-judgement/

Hugh of Lincoln
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Hugh of Lincoln

“The regulations will continue to provide important protection for churches and other religious organisations”.

How callous! Protection for gay people is unimportant; the institution comes first.

What happened to the “safe place” idea? Has that been slain too?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

There is no substitute for a direct examination of the actual text of the judgement. This should be available very soon.

badman
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badman

Before anyone gets too excited about the decision as a legal precedent, I should point out that Employment Tribunal decisions are made at a very low level of the judicial hierarchy and don’t generally bind anyone else, including other Employment Tribunals. It is very, very rare for them even to appear in the law reports, although this one is so special that it may be an exception. It is only if the case goes up to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (which is presided over, usually, by a High Court judge) that it starts to impact on other cases as a… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
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Hugh of Lincoln It was a bishop’s gloating of how they could destroy a safe space and that not even higher being could help that set me off. When I was growing up, I used to watch movies where people would flee to churches for sanctuary from evil and violence from without. Loving gentle priests and nuns allowed them entry and invoked God’s name that no one should desecrate a holy space. In recent times, we have seen evidence that families or individuals who have come to the temples for sanctuary from violence and an insane world find themselves or… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Just a side point really. I was involved in supporting a land and access dispute case, and when the judgment was made in “our” favour, you suddenly experience how decisive a victory is and, for the other side, how (with costs, and the consequences) devastating is the outcome. In a situation like this, there is always the sense by the party that has lost that if they hadn’t been so over-reaching and arrogant that they would be where they are anyway at much less cost. The Hutton judgment had a huge impact on the BBC, even though many saw the… Read more »

Curtis
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Curtis

Has anyone consulted ++Akinola to make sure this doesn’t accidentally besmirch the communion?

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

“Whatever these rights to discriminate that some of these religious want, it is getting increasingly difficult for them. So it should; the ground under their feet has shifted. They can believe all manner of things, but they cannot so easily affect others adversely as a result.”-Pluralist That’s the gist precisely. Just like the mid to late 1960’s in the U.S., one could make jokes, have feelings of complete disgust and (mis)use scripture to fuel their hatred of the negro, but to act upon those feelings and beliefs landed them in a court of law and a verdict intended to change… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“Has anyone consulted ++Akinola to make sure this doesn’t accidentally besmirch the communion?”
Oh, I’m sure this is taken as another example of how the True Christians are being persecuted by evil wanton Western society, and the Evil wanton CofE is cooperating with these enemies of the Gospel. Wait for it.

IT
Guest
IT

I’m still reeling from the idea that partnered gay clergy can enter into civil partnerships, yet a Bishop can inquire into someone else’s private life.

Is this a logical disconnect?

IT

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

hi Ford- Are you sure that you are not denying the terms ‘evil’ and ‘wanton’ on principle, ie before resource to statistical fact? If certain trends in western society have bad statistical effects (literally hundreds of percentage points rise in abortions, divorces, STDs, extramarital relationships…and an associated massive rise in crime connected with subgroups that have no stable families) then it is not merely an option to point out that another route had better effects. Even if no-one pointed that out, it would still be true. We already know a better way, which has been demonstrated by our society at… Read more »

NP
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NP

More attacks on ++Akinola…..when he is nothing at all to do with this story….come on, be sensible TA contributors!

Ford – I know you like making these (weak) claims about persecution and martyr complexes etc etc BUT pls note the tribunal affirmed the right of the CofE to implement Lambeth 1.10 based employment policies – even for lay people

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“If certain trends in western society have bad statistical effects” First of all, Christopher, I have engaged before your concepts of “statistical facts” and the sources you use for these statistics. What’s more, you seem to think there has been a collosal moral decline in Western society in the past, say, century. Can this actually be supported? I am of the opinion that we have merely switched one set of evils for another. A rise in crime? Really? The stats I have heard reported time and again suggest the opposite. Indeed, there is at least one author who points out… Read more »

IT
Guest
IT

Oh, here we go with the post hoc, ergo propter hoc argument for causality. Nice try, Christopher, but fails on many fronts.

is this the week for exposing logical fallacy and sophistry? We took down the slippery slope argument on Fr Jake’s, because there was no independent verification of inevitability.

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

When ?

Never !

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher, “an associated massive rise in crime” Vide Infra. When something drops to its lowest level in 25 years, I don’t think it entirely accurate to claim there has been a “massive rise”! http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070719.CRIME19/TPStory/National http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002-09-09-crime_x.htm Also, while the most serious violent crime is showing a slight increase despite the overall fall, it is in general weapons related violence. Why then are those who most loudly panic at what they perceive as a “rise” in crime also the ones who most loudly oppose removing the weapons from the hands of those who commit the only kind of violent crime that has… Read more »

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

Christopher Shell observed “hundreds of percentage points rise in abortions, divorces, STDs, extramarital relationships…and an associated massive rise in crime connected with subgroups that have no stable families.”

and is Global South so much better, in the light of soaring HIV infection rates, the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy…?

NP
Guest
NP

mynster – you do reaise that African bishops have been preaching against the behaviour that has led to AIDS and poverty spreading…they do not control African secular society or even individuals in the church…I don’t think you have made a strong reply here

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Mynsterpreost, “Hundreds of percent rise in abortions” has been accompanied by a marked decrease in deaths of women having abortions. I have never attended a young woman dying of peritonitis from a botched abortion, but I was trained by Obstetricians who had, only one of whom performed abortions. They all desired never to have the experience again. I would contend Christopher’s statistics (see the two reports I linked to). This is the typical doomsday “The world is falling apart and it’s all because of change” scenario. What’s interesting is that he is not being dishonest here. He truly does perceive… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“African bishops have been preaching against the behaviour that has led to AIDS and poverty spreading” And yet have refused to confront the fact that it isn’t working. So, wwjd? Continue on preaching and ignore the fact that people are dying and children orphaned resulting in societal dysfunction or actually support measures that will stop the contagion? The latter would help reduce human suffering, but we already know that +Akinola, in direct disobedience to the Lord’s teaching, believes “human suffering doesn’t matter.” It would also mean that people could also have sex without the risk of suffering the consequences you… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Dear Ford…..I know you hate him but are you even aware of what ++Akinola has been doing practically to alleviate suffering and help those suffering with AIDS?

We are not in a position to lecture the Africans on how to respond to suffering – they are actually doing it every day

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“…..I know you hate him” No, I don’t. I fear him. I respect his right to his religion, but I don’t believe the same things, and I fear that he will try to force us all to believe as he does. I feel his behaviour is not at all consistent with the Gospel he claims to follow, but hate, no, I don’t hate him. As to HIV, from: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-programmes/justice-diakonia-and-responsibility-for-creation/ehaia/declarations-and-policy-statements-on-hivaids-by-churches-and-faith-based-organisations-2001-2005/church-of-nigeria.html I note their concept of prevention, while including education, centres on abstinence and monogamy. All very well and good for those who believe you, but for those who are not of… Read more »