Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Religious exemptions in equality law: the role of the Church of England.

Paul Johnson and Robert M Vanderbeck have published a very lengthy article, entitled Sexual Orientation Equality and Religious Exceptionalism in the Law of the United Kingdom: The Role of the Church of England.

Here’s the abstract:

There is a growing literature that addresses the appropriateness and merits of including exceptions in law to accommodate faith-based objections to homosexuality. However, what has rarely been considered and, as a consequence, what is generally not understood, is how such religious exceptions come to exist in law. This article provides a detailed analysis of the contribution of the Church of England to ensuring the inclusion of religious exceptions in United Kingdom legislation designed to promote equality on the grounds of sexual orientation. The article adopts a case study approach that, following the life of one piece of anti-discrimination legislation, shows the approach of the Church of England in seeking to insert and shape religious exceptions in law. The analysis contributes to broader debates about the role of the Church of England in Parliament and the extent to which the United Kingdom, as a liberal democracy, should continue to accommodate the Church’s doctrine on homosexuality in statute law.

The full paper can be downloaded from here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 25 April 2017 at 9:43pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation
Comments

The C of E beginning to be held to account for its behaviour ?

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Tuesday, 25 April 2017 at 10:37pm BST

This makes my blood boil.

Posted by: Cynthia on Wednesday, 26 April 2017 at 5:00am BST

Could religious exemptions in equality law be removed only in the case of the Church of England? What would the Church of England look like as a State religion, subject to parliament? How would other faiths view such a body? I couldn't possibly comment.

Posted by: Jill Armstead on Wednesday, 26 April 2017 at 8:03am BST

This is a really poor piece. It lists the ways in which the CofE engages with Government, as if no other major group in society asked for meetings with Ministers. It attributes (nearly) all the religious input to the debates to the CofE, ignoring its own footnotes which mention Roman Catholic and other input to the debate. It ignores the fact that the CofE explicitly speaks into these matters on behalf of all faith groups. It presents speeches in parliamentary debates taking a different view to faith groups as if they represented the views of everyone else - except that everything was passed by minority votes. I could go on.

There is an implicit assumption that faith is about metaphysical propositions, and does not have a proper interest in morals and behaviour - and certainly that it has no right to hold different moral views to the rest of society.

Much more interesting questions are not asked. Should faith groups have exemptions from some employment laws? The authors imply a "no" without considering the consequences (Muslim Rabbis anyone?). Do we want the State dictating to faith groups what they can and can't believe and practise?

Is it appropriate for Minsters and Civil Servants to consult faith groups when formulating legislation which directly affects them? Especially if they're not themselves experts. If not, why consult anyone on anything?

Does faith have a legitimate role in public life? If not, how are those who have a faith supposed to behave? And if not, what about other belief systems - atheism? secularism?Conservatism? Liberalism?

Posted by: Bernard Randall on Wednesday, 26 April 2017 at 8:31pm BST
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