THINKING ANGLICANS

The Prospects case

Ekklesia reports on this in Christian charity found to have discriminated on grounds of religion.

An Employment Tribunal in Abergele has today unanimously found in favour of a former employee of a Christian charity who was claiming constructive dismissal and discrimination on grounds of religion or belief.

The Tribunal heard that Prospects, a Christian charity which receives public money for its work with people with learning disabilities, and which had previously employed a number of non-Christian staff and volunteers – including a number who were transferred to them under TUPE Regulations – acted illegally when in 2004 it began recruiting only practising Christians for almost all posts, and told existing non-Christian staff that they were no longer eligible for promotion.

Mr James Boddy, Barrister from 11 King’s Bench Walk Chambers, representing the claimant Mr Mark Sheridan, declared: “This is an important decision because it is the first time an employment tribunal has been called on to decide the extent to which an organisation with a religious ethos is allowed to discriminate on grounds of religion or belief…”

This story was reported in some detail last December, by Ruth Gledhill in The Times see Christian ‘forced to discrimate’ against non-Christian staff and on her blog at Christian claims discrimination ‘on grounds of religion’.

See also the BHA press release, Tribunal victory for employee in landmark religious discrimination case.

And Simon Barrow’s comments are here.

Simon Barrow, co-director of Ekklesia, said: “This judgement ought to make religious charities sit up and think – not just about their legal responsibilities and the morality of non-discrimination, but about the impact of their behaviour on their image with the public at large.”

He continued: “Leaders and entrepreneurs in many faith organisations seem reluctant to embrace a comprehensive equalities agenda, or to recognise their culpability in issues of discrimination. Yet they are often the first to seek exemptions from legislation accepted by others and to complain that they are being ‘attacked’ when criticisms are raised.”

“The Christian message of love and justice is undermined by poor employment and equalities practices in the Christian organisations. This is an opportunity for the churches to get their house in order.”

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Cheryl Va.
Guest

Good. The time for abuse in Jesus, Spirit or Gods’ names are over. God does not show partiality nor favouritism. The cunning spies who sought to ensnare Jesus were undone when he saw through their duplicity (see Luke 20:21-25), yet there was truth when they acknowledged. “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth” Heed Jesus’ warnings not to hold back grace from others e.g. Matthew 5 or 25 The souls who foolishly think they can get away with… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest

It’s an interesting case which demonstrates that Christians should live in harmony with the civil law and respect values that are, after all, not foreign to the gospel (and prophets).

Similar to the recent discrimination case within the Church of England.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Constantly from bad to worse 🙁

We have seen this rear its ugly head many times on TA during the years…

Frank
Guest
Frank

Strange, that the secular community appears to be exhibiting more Christian charity than the Christian charity.

robroy
Guest
robroy

Yes, it is time for the secularists to force the religious organizations like the Catholic church to hire Hindus for clergy. Also, force the CoE to hire Zen buddhists. No, wait, we already have that.

Secularism fights on. Church attendance in Göran Koch-Swahne’s Sweden is now a whopping 3.9%. That is something to aspire to.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Robroy clearly doesn’t understand the law.

There are exemptions for specifically religious roles which already exist. Hence, no-one needs to worry about churches being forced to accept clergy of another religion.

However, for ‘general’ roles which are not directly religious, organisations cannot discriminate against others on the grounds of religion.

It is almost certainly the case that this group will be receiving public money to carry out their tasks. Thus, they do have to obey the secular law.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

robroy: don’t knock Sweden. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Sweden, as well as being one of the world’s most prosperous and equal societies, is the world’s highest per capita aid donor. So which would be the more Christian – a society with low religiosity but high levels of equality and practical charity; or one with high levels of outward religiosity but zero commitment to equality? Church attendance throughout Europe is in vertiginous decline: the rate of decline is actually most rapid in the formerly hard-line Catholic societies. Ask anyone in Ireland what’s happening to the Church there, and… Read more »

John Bassett
Guest
John Bassett

Note Robroy, that the organization is taking public money. Nobody forced them to do that, but once you do so you implicitly agree to certain expectations.

Is this religious discrimination? Hardly. Christ did not send his disciples out into the world to spend the taxpayers’ pounds, dollars, and euros. Should his followers decide to do so, it is only fair that they should obey Caesar’s rules.

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

“As European societies modernise, their young people do not want to be bossed about by clergy with a mania for social control. That is the chief reason for the decline in European religion: we have been associated with power structures for too many centuries.” – Fr. Mark That, I fear, is the problem with Christendom. I think that those who are longing for the “good old days” do not realize that the good old days were themselves fraught with those problems. And those problems are slowly emerging right now. I’d say that religious charities receiving public money do have to… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Statisticians generally are out to prove “Secularisation”, so when they discuss church or sect phenomena they do it in terms of a “secularisation”, which they would never use in an other context (say attitudes towards religion in Indonesia)…

Ridiculous, really.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

In short, the follwers of Sta Statistica would never even use the word “secularisation” when discussing folk-religious Rites in Indonesia.

But they do when it is Western.

Sheesh….

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Luke 7:29-30 “All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.” It is not a surprise to see the secular and the masses acknowledge God’s righteousness, nor is it a surprise to see the “high priests'” rejection of same. See also Ezekiel 18:29 “Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, O house… Read more »

robroy
Guest
robroy

To Fr Mark. There was a study that placed the northern European nation well ahead of the U.S. in terms of per capita foreign aid. But in terms of overall charity, there is no comparison both in terms of percent GDP and much more so in terms of total dollars. The U.S., by far, is the most charitable nation, giving 1.67% of GDP. France is #12 on the list, giving 0.14%. Sweden is not listed. See wikipedia (tinyurl.com/52dv8t). It is interesting to list the most and least charitable states: Most – Mississippi, Arkansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Utah,… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

robroy: you haven’t said anything to respond to my point about the European Church being too alllied with traditional power structures. What do you think about that?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Some statistics Re Sweden, Re Robroys attempts at propaganda (based on Tax-deduction), pinched from http://www.svenskakyrkan.se In 2007 • 74,3 % of Swedes were members of Svenska kyrkan, the rest were Free church, Roman, Muslim. • 62 % of all new borns were baptised as children • 35 % of all 15 year olds were confirmed • 46 % of all marriage ceremonies • 83 % of all burials • about 50 Registered Partnerships were blessed • 19,2 milion participants in holy services • 1,5 milion participants in other non closed activities • 100 000 choristers • in 5 500 choirs… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“it is not for the religious organisation itself to define its ethos, where this does not accord with reality on the ground.” Then who is it for? This is an absolutely ridiculous statement! Any major corporation is allowed to state what its ethos is, is allowed to generate a “mission statement” to define itself, for the love of God! A religion isn’t? Come on. Who are they saying gets to define the ethos of a religion if not that religion? I think that if they want to be able to discriminate, they should not receive public funds. I would have… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

No, Rob, this isn’t America. Religious groups can bid for state money but there are always conditions to accepting this. If they choose not to, there are alternative providers. Religious groups have to operate within the civil law – same as everyone else. They know the score and they will make their choice. As for ‘charity’, I prefer rights and entitlement backed up by taxation – not ‘charity’, which has to exist in America because state services are so lamentably appalling. The influence of right wing politics and right wing religion. That’s why charitable donations are smaller in states with… Read more »

robroy
Guest
robroy

“robroy: you haven’t said anything to respond to my point about the European Church being too allied with traditional power structures. What do you think about that?” Fr Mark, when I post here, I tend to take hits from all comers. I realize that I am a guest so I don’t want to impose myself. Thus, I limit myself to a couple of postings per day. I am not sure which countries are most “allied with traditional power structures.” But I would think that the Polish church would qualify. Perhaps you are talking about countries with established churches such as… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“50 % of the priests are female.”

About 30% are – in some Dioceses, in others considerably less.

“Homosexual accommodation is near universal.”

Raving?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“Göran Koch-Swahne statement that 74% of Swedes belong to the Church of Sweden is nonsense.”

It’s the official statistics. They even pay for it – but you know better?

Don’t let your American anti Europe Propaganda get the better of you!

James
Guest
James

Although I find many of robroys points convincing, the point of this news as far as I can tell is that the charity operates with public funding. Given that it is public funding there are civil standards that they should adhere to. If they want to be completely separate, they should do it with their funds as well as their management.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“In other words, complete capitulation to liberalism.” Of course, it couldn’t possibly be that they actually take seriously St. Paul’s claim that “in Christ there is neither male nor female.” No. Only Evangelicals, as defined in the English language, actually take Scripture seriously. No, they must be just cowardly betrayers of the Gospel. Not possible it could be that they consider the Second Great Commandment to apply to gay people as well. No, of course not. Evangelicals know that loving gay people means browbeating them, lying about them, driving them back into the closet, jailing them, reviling them. THAT’S real… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

That is the members pay their Church Fee (= 1% of income).

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

robroy: Poland is in an anomalous situation eccelesiastically in Europe, and is also a country where officially sanctioned racism and homophobia are currently a concern to the EU. It won’t stay as it is much longer, and I predict that the Church’s influence will wane rapidly as the society modernises. Compare Ireland or Spain, which were both equally priest-ridden (and I’m a priest writing this!) a couple of decades ago. In both those countries, the Church hasn’t been able to retain young highly ethical people who aspire to a better life. You need to understand the social dynamic at work… Read more »