Thinking Anglicans

Equality Bill – new definition proposed

Updated

The Government has proposed a new definition of when “Employment is for the purposes of an organised religion”.

Here it is:

Employment is for the purposes of an organised religion only if—

(a) the employment is as a minister of religion, or

(b) the employment is in another post that exists (or, where the post has not previously been filled, that would exist) to promote or represent the religion or to explain the doctrines of the religion (whether to followers of the religion or to others).

This would replace the current wording found in Schedule 9, Paragraph 2(8).

Update

In order to evaluate this, it may be helpful to recall that this clause is designed to cover a variety of issues, not only sexual orientation.

(a) a requirement to be of a particular sex;

(b) a requirement not to be a transsexual person;

(c) a requirement not to be married or a civil partner;

(d) a requirement not to be married to, or the civil partner of, a person who has a living former spouse or civil partner;

(e) a requirement relating to circumstances in which a marriage or civil partnership came to an end;

(f) a requirement related to sexual orientation.

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tommiaquinas
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tommiaquinas

I think you mean Schedule 9, Paragraph 2(8) Simon.

yes of course, fixed, thanks.
S.

themethatisme
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Has been withdrawn I believe. Original wording stands.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

This is an extraordianary step back from the Government. I would say that this so increases the scope of jobs barred to gay people that it might fall foul of the European “legal opinion”. It certainly gives all Fittall and the CofE were asking for – his advert for a Press Officer can certainly now include – “No gay person need apply” The exclusion of gay people within the C of E can hardly now avoid the description of “institutional homophobia” – and who would have thought that this deepening rejection of gay people would happen on Rowan Williams’ watch.… Read more »

badman
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badman

I don’t think (b) would be acceptable. Many posts might exist to “promote” a religion or to “represent” it, so this would be a big hole in the code against unlawful discrimination.

However, even if it passes in this form (which, as a government amendment, it probably will), the Courts will likely apply a very restrictive interpretation so perhaps it would not matter too much.

Simon Sarmiento
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I see no evidence that this amendment has been withdrawn as yet. It is proposed as an amendment (addition) to paragraph 6, on the presumption that the amendment to delete paragraph 8 will also be passed.

john
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john

I agree with Martin that this is dreadful. But surely it may fall foul of the European court? Off-topic – but in one sense it isn’t, because everything in the C of E is affected by our low-grade leadership – did anyone hear Sentamu’s disgraceful ramblings about the Haitian earthquake in response to John Humphrys’s predictable inquisition? It seems simply staggering that the C of E number two cannot produce anything better when confronted with the problem of evil, though, come to think of it, Rowan Williams was equally hopeless in relation to the Tsunami (Keith Ward, of course, was… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

I can see it is real progress that I and other ministers of religion can be discriminated against by our churches. First rate. Are we being sacrificed in order to get the other more progressive itmes through the Bill ? It beggars belief that in 2012 a young minister (or one of any age) has no protection from abuse and discrimination, for ordinary everyday extra-ordinary things like falling for someone, having a relationship and getting hitched at the Town Hall. And yet the C of E accepted myself and my partner, from theological college to ordaining bishop, onwards and that… Read more »

Edgar
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Edgar

Are people angry about this wording suggesting that it should become illegal for the Catholic Church to refuse ordination to women?

Robert Ian williams
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Robert Ian williams

In the US the Courts will not determine who is orthodox in religious disputes…so this would be interference by the Government telling us what we should believe. It is intrinsic to the Catholic Faith that those in Holy orders must be male.

J Michael Povey
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J Michael Povey

Blah, blah, blah in the face of Haiti’s suffering.

When will the C of E have the courage to press for dis-establishment?

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

While I can imagine giving enthusiastic support to having the Roman Catholic Church brought into line with all equalities legislation – I regret that the present Bill will not do. I saw the report in the Telegraph saying that CARE had obtained a legal opinion making the claim Edgar is repeating – but it is all part of a well organised scare campaign dealing out (for the most part) lies. If anything worries me it is this, that the Christian groups and Churches opposed to this legislation have been willing to use such deceit and disinformation to achieve their goals.… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

The Government recognise that the wording has to be interpreted in the light of the EU directive

But the time really should come where gay people need to make their choice – stay in an institutionally homophobic body or leave.

Neil
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Neil

John – yes I can hardly believe how woeful +Sentamu was. Disorganised thought processes, all over the place and not answering the questions put to him. Full of pious platitudes – especially in his incomprehensible reply to ‘How can God be seen to be all Merciful and all Powerful with regard to Haiti?’
A shocking embarrassment.

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

Are people angry about this wording suggesting that it should become illegal for the Catholic Church (sic) to refuse ordination to women?

Posted by: Edgar on Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 9:52pm GMT.

The Catholic Church does ordain women.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

But if disestablished who will protect the Church from itself (and the rest of us from it) ?

David Walker
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David Walker

Contrary to some postings, this amendment is not primarily about homosexuality and the C of E. Whilst I personally believe that the RCC should follow the C of E in having women priests I canot imagine anyone of integrity believing that this should be achieved by UK legislation. Meanwhile the bishops in the Lords have been speaking in their role not as defenders of the Established Church but in their accepted position as defenders of faith in general – a role much supported by other denominations and faiths. In strictly C of E terms the main threat to the status… Read more »

MikeM aka Achilles
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MikeM aka Achilles

Achilles is back.

Apropos Sentamu, and then Giles Fraser today; at least Fraser has the wit to invoke profound intellects, such as Leibniz and Voltaire, even though he personally also veered off into anodyne, comforting territory.

The leadership of the CoE is neither intellectually able, morally feisty, nor pastorally effective.

I am close to tearing up my membership card here, in fact close to turning my heels and walking away entirely from this whole ‘Christian’ thing.

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Perhaps faith bodies should not be allowed to ‘work’ in that way, David. Perhaps there is a case for forcing you to change.

Hugh of Lincoln
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Hugh of Lincoln

“Meanwhile the bishops in the Lords have been speaking in their role… as defenders of faith” – David Walker I disagree. They perceive their role as defending the prejudices of the past because they cannot accept that Moses is leading us across the Red Sea once again allowing us to be bolder in our faith. They are making a lot of noise because they are finding themselves on the wrong side of the water and increasingly isolated. If they had the interests of a minority of the faithful – created by God in her/his image – at heart, they would… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

The way things now stand between church and state, most liberals like me will prefer the attitude of the state to women and to LGBT people.

However, it does not take a huge leap of imagination to put ourselves in a position where this is not true any longer. Suppose the state started taking quite other attitudes – as in the past it did in the Third Reich, or as it does in Uganda today. Would you really really want to give the state the ability to dictate the churches’ standards? Really?

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

I seem to remember a scriptural injunction that puts Love above Law. Quite apart from the State needing to defend the democratic freedoms of ALL people, surely the Church is pledged to something even more precious – ‘Mishpat’ – True Justice, Mercy, etc. In the end, permissions to go forward for ordination will still be in the hands of the local Bishop. What sort of theological and ethical stance he/she will bring to the issue: in the C.of E., for instance – whether or not to ordain anyone who feels called by God to minister – whether male or female,… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

David Walker how have ‘the bishops’been ‘defending faith’ ? It escapes me.

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

“Love above Law” – Ron

Love IS law.

Remember Jesus’ commandments upon which hang all laws. If we regard gay people as our neighbours, then according to the second commandment the bishops’ actions are contrary to God.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

L Roberts “David Walker how have ‘the bishops’been ‘defending faith’ ? It escapes me.”

A very good question. Defending prejudice, and, seen in the most charitable light, temporising with regard to institutional injustice, are ways of harming the faith very greatly, not defending it at all.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“It is intrinsic to the Catholic Faith that those in Holy orders must be male.” – R.I.Williams – Not the Catholic Faith, Robert, just the Roman Catholic Church. There is nothing in the Creeds that says that ordination is only for males. In Catholic Churches where the Holy Spirit is still seen to be alive and active, there has been for some time a realisation that Saint Paul’s statement: “In Christ, there is neither male nor female”, can be applied to those who are called to doing the work of Christ in the ministry and leadership of the Church. The… Read more »