Wednesday, 14 April 2010

special courts for Christians?

Updated twice Thursday morning and twice Thursday afternoon

According to Andrew Alderson in the Telegraph:

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and other church leaders will urge senior judges to stand down from future Court of Appeal hearings because of “disturbing” and “dangerous” rulings they issued in recent religious discrimination cases.

Senior churchmen do not think they have any chance of a “fair” ruling if the latest significant hearing – due on Thursday – is heard in front of those judges who, they argue, have already shown a lack of understanding of Christian beliefs….

Lord Carey and others will this week support a formal application by lawyers acting for Gary McFarlane, a Christian relationship counsellor, that a specialist panel of five judges with a proven understanding of religious issues and headed by Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, should be established to hear his case and future cases involving religious rights.

See Church leaders head for showdown with top judges over bias against Christians.

Also, Laura Clark in the Mail reported that:

Lord Carey will back an application by Mr McFarlane’s lawyers for the case to be heard by a specialist panel of five judges with an understanding of religious issues.

It would be headed by Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice.

A spokesman for Lord Carey yesterday confirmed the former archbishop has already prepared a witness statement.

He will warn of ‘disturbing’ rulings and ‘dangerous’ reasoning in previous cases. Other senior church figures are also said to have prepared statements.

See ‘Anti-Christian’ judges should be banned from religious cases, says Lord Carey

Responses to this include:

Ruth Gledhill in The Times It can only harm Christians to bleat about persecution and be sure to watch the video version as well.

In Britain Christians cry: “We are being persecuted.” But the lions don’t exist beyond their imaginations or the arena beyond their story books. Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and his fellow victims are giving all Christians a bad name. It is time for liberals to stand up and say: “We will not be slain by this malevolent spirit, not even when the persecutors are our fellow Christians…”

Andrew Brown at Cif belief Carey’s court is an admission of defeat

…But as soon as the church, or Christianity, becomes just another pressure group fighting its corner, it has conceded the power to grant legitimacy to something else, whether this is public opinion or the political process. And from a position outside Christianity, it is absurd to demand that cases involving Christians and their tender consciences be tried by Christians, but corresponding cases involving Muslims should not be tried by Muslims.

And also there are statements from the British Humanist Association and the National Secular Society.

Updates

Telegraph Peter Hutchison ‘Persecuted Christians’ join forces

The letter mentioned in this report can now be read here (scroll down) or in the comments below.

Press release from CCFON, titled (the quotation marks are theirs!) ‘Christian Victims’ of English Judicial System to Challenge Master of the Rolls - today in Court

Frances Gibb The Times Lord Carey warns of ‘unrest’ if judges continue with ‘dangerous’ rulings

Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, warned today of future “civil unrest” if judges continue with “disturbing” and “dangerous” rulings in religious discrimination cases.

He intervened in a case being brought by a Bristol solicitor and relationship counsellor who wants a special panel of five senior judges to hear his appeal against being sacked for refusing to counsel homosexual couples.

Lord Carey, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 to 2002, attacked the courts over a series of “disturbing” judgments and accused judges of being responsible for some “dangerous” reasoning which could, if taken to extremes, lead to Christians being banned from the workplace.

“Recent decisions of the courts have illuminated insensitivity to the interests and needs of the Christian community and represent disturbing judgments,” he said in a witness statement.

Lord Carey said it was “but a short step from the dismissal of a sincere Christian from employment to a “religious bar” to any employment by Christians.”

Lord Carey, who said he had the support of several other Anglican bishops and other leading churchmen, also attacked recent decisions by the Court of Appeal on the right of Christians to wear crosses in the workplace…

And also, Peter Hutchison Telegraph ‘Civil unrest’ warning over ‘un-Christian’ rulings

…Paul Diamond, who was applying to the Court of Appeal for permission to challenge an employment tribunal ruling which backed the sacking of Mr McFarlane, said: “There will be a collision between the established faith of this land and judicial decisions which will lead to civil unrest.”

He added that laws protecting religious freedom now “counted for nothing” in the courts.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 14 April 2010 at 10:54pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation
Comments

I wonder if Carey really knows how profoundly pathetic his argument sounds? His tone reads like one of the recently deceased Protestant Fundamentalists in this country, Jerry Fallwell. Yes, Carey actually fits right in with the Fallwell type of behavior and "thinking". Homophobia is one thing which it appears he seems to have, but does he really think he can actually get away with such shallow arguments? He is no longer amusing.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 1:28am BST

It is really distressing to me to see Lord Carey behaving in this embarassing fashion. I suppose I don't have to belabor the fact that I'm not on the same "side" as he is (on almost anything), but I can't rejoice to see him like this. It's too painful a spectacle.

Posted by: Charlotte on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 1:48am BST

George Carey has always been a fool. His latest idiocy should hardly be a surprise.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 3:42am BST

And, "christian" conservatism just imploded on itself.

Now, how are these right-wingers different from radical Islam, again?

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 5:28am BST

It seem to me that Ruth Gledhill and Andrew Brown are the ones who are spot on.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 6:19am BST

Why does it always boil down to GLBT people? Even if you concede – which I vehemently don’t – arguments about the biblical inappropriateness of same-sex intimate relationships, no Lord Spiritual ever gets his miter a-kilter over usurers, over those who covet and steal that which is not theirs, over other violators of various biblical injunctions.
A sex therapist fired for not willing to counsel gay couples. A civil servant fired or moved for not wanting to fulfill her registrar duties when it comes to civil partnerships. And, for this, Lord Carey thinks the barbarians are at the gates, and the End of Civilization cometh? If the therapist had refused to counsel an Asian couple and been fired, no one would take notice. If the civil servant had been fired for refusing to marry inter-racial couples, Lord Carey would be unmoved.
But, let it be GLBT people, and suddenly, conservative Christian miscreants want judges sympathetic to conservative Christians. Maybe bank robbers should be allowed to ask for judges sympathetic to arguments about the evils of capitalism.
These same people are appalled by the thought of special Sharia courts to hear accusations against devout Muslims. Irony abounds, but I forget, Muslims are not Christians so they don’t deserve anything, is that it?
I get so damn tired of the incessant, unceasing conservative Christian tirade against, crusade against, inquisition of, belittling of, dehumanizing of, superiority about, sanctimonious hypocrisy towards, GLBT people.
The more-Christian-than-thou crowd makes me want to give up on Christianity altogether, except for my safe little Episcopal church. And that's a shame.
No wonder "Jesus wept", and keeps weeping. Oceans of tears.
To paraphrase an American bumper sticker, "Jesus, spare me from (some of) your followers”.

Posted by: peterpi on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 7:34am BST

Have they all gone mad? Why not special courts packed with sympathetic judges for GLBT people and Sharia courts for Muslims?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 9:25am BST

Well done Ruth! An excellent article.

Posted by: Stephen Bates on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 11:06am BST

I'm so fed up with evangelicals claiming to speak for all Christians and with the resulting impression that we are all small minded, bigotted and obsessed by our own specialness.

Even Andrew Brown in his brilliant commentary refers to "a" secular and "a" Christian position.

Thank God for Ruth Gledhill and her courage - that video is outstanding.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 11:18am BST

"Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and his fellow victims are giving all Christians a bad name. It is time for liberals to stand up and say: “We will not be slain by this malevolent spirit, not even when the persecutors are our fellow Christians.”
- Ruth Gledhill, The Times -

Dear Ruth Gledhill, I want, publicly, to express my profound gratitude to you - a journalist from whom I have often differed in opinion in the not-too-distant past - for this masterpiece of a video declaration of Faith, as a Christian, in the justice system of the English Courts. Your emphatic denunciation of Lord Clifton and his episcopal cronies in their criticism of the supposed 'anti-Christian' stance in recent court proceedings was a stunning rebuff to their craven fear of the liberating power of the Gospel, which treats all people, and all legitimate faith communities with equal respect.

For an ex-Archbishop of Canterbury to carry out such an orchestrated programme of fundamentalist
fervour is embarrassing to say the least, and hardly calculated to engender a spirit of ethnic or religious togetherness - which many of us believe to be an important ingredient of civic
and religious responsibility at this present time in history.

If this is the Church of England's conservatives' tool for mission, then God help us to overcome their obvious fear of extinction - that seems contrary to the message of Holy Week and Easter! And these are the people who will be aiding and abetting the fundamentalist triumphalism of the GAFCON crowd shortly to gather in Singapore for their anti- GLBT-fest, where they will proclaim Canterbury to be the heart of an unholy relic of Anglicanism! Get a LIFE, Lord C!

Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 12:22pm BST

Would it be out-of-line to inquire if a number of English judges are of the Jewish faith? If so, might indicate that Carey's celebrated tin ear is running true to form.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 2:06pm BST

We may well warm to Ruth Gledhill's video, but isn't she changing her theological identity and might she not upset some of her her contacts (this before The Times pay wall goes up)?

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 3:23pm BST

I suppose it is only a matter of time before Lord Carey announces that the cloud of volcanic ash currently closing airports across the British Isles and Scandinavia is divine judgement upon those countries for their liberal attitudes to youknowwhatuality. Or would that be too far-fetched an idea?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 4:33pm BST

Special needs for special people.

Posted by: evensongjunkie (formerly cbfh) on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 4:48pm BST

OK, the judges that don't "understand" Christianity can stand down BUT only if all the bishops that don't understand discrimination stand down at the same time...

Posted by: Mark Oakley on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 5:13pm BST

Well done Ruth about time a true Christian voice is heard. It confirms all my suspicions how shallow such narrow minded disciples really are. If they think they are experiencing persecution today, what hope have genuine persecuted believers of any faith in receiving support and empathy from this privileged group of moaners. About time they started engaging with those who really sacrifice their lives for the Faith. Though Jesus said Take up your Cross and follow me, not parade it around to keep people at a distance!!

Posted by: Fr. Jon on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 6:07pm BST

George Carey is an Evangelical who -- as far as I know-we -never-hear-of-any does no evangelism !

I should very much like to see him holding Evangelistic Crusades up and down the land !

And leave the rest of us in peace !

Truly, he was and is, Thatcher's revenge !

Posted by: Rev Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 8:02pm BST

This letter appeared in today's Telegraph:

Jobs bar for Christians

SIR – Over the past couple of years, the signatories of this letter have all been discriminated against because of our religious beliefs.
We do not want our rights to over-ride the freedoms of others, nor are we expecting to be “above the law”. What we desire is a fair balance within society, where people of widely differing views can live together in relative harmony.
It is highly unsatisfactory that Christian beliefs are not tolerated in the workplace, often because the beliefs are themselves considered intolerant. Surely, being part of a liberal democracy means tolerating the beliefs of others, not trampling all over them when we disagree?
It is unacceptable to be told by employers that if we have a problem we can quit our jobs. If this attitude is adopted, then a religious bar to office would be created for a great number of professions. We are magistrates, counsellors, teachers, nurses and foster parents, and there are countless other professions that could create a “crisis of conscience” for Christians if such an intolerant attitude is adopted.
We do not want to impose our views on society, but neither do we think a fair balance has been achieved by recent court decisions. We are continuing to see Christians suffering at work, adoption agencies being forced to close, Christian B?&?B owners being threatened with legal action and street preachers fined – all because they are living out their faith in the public square.
We support the appeal of Gary McFarlane, who was sacked for refusing to give directive sex therapy to homosexual couples, and ask that the judges at today’s Appeal Court hearing make a fair decision.
Eunice and Owen Johns
Andrew McClintock
Shirley Chaplin
Duke Amachree
Caroline Petrie
Olive Jones
London W1

Posted by: Rev Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 8:18pm BST

“civil unrest”???

Wake me when m'Lord Carey riots in the streets: that would be Too Amusing to miss! *LOL*

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 8:25pm BST

What are the "religious liberties" that GB has enjoyed for centuries? Excluding Catholics from Parliament? And Dissenters? Or Cromwell's treatment of the C of E? Or the supression of the Scottish Episcopal Church?

Carey's only interested in the religious liberties of himself and other like-minded evangelicals.

Posted by: Michael on Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 9:16pm BST

Stephen Bates has answered my question about Jewish judges in part. The judge to whom Carey objects is Lord Neuberger.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 1:31pm BST

Lord Carey's latest idiocy -- and his specific invocation of CofE as the Established Church -- is an excellent argument against having a state religion. Oh, and against having life peers, too.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 5:30pm BST

There needs to be underlying principles that transcend any particular faith or paradigm. Otherwise it is merely one group seeking to impose its paradigms and exceptions to their own benefit, leading to the suffering of others.

Transcendant visions of peace, inclusion, justice, compassion, mercy, accountabiility and responsbility. Fair and equitable access basic human rights and justice. For women, GLBTs, children, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Humanists...

"Do unto others as you would have done unto you", "Love thy neighbour".

Jesus, his pedophiles, tyrants and cruel evangelicals must be held to account just as much as Satan or the gods and prophets of the other religions and philosophies. No exceptions. An exception for one leads to the squabbling of many.

God shows no partiality in law and the covenants of Noah apply to all humanity and Zion to all Creation. Jesus should know this truth and its his responsibility to get his thugs under control and make sure they know this too.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 7:20pm BST
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