Comments: the narrow scope of the "religious exemption"

I don't understand; what's the problem with there being a narrow scope for allowing discrimination on the grounds of religion? As far as I'm concerned the scope should be as narrow as possible, or even better there should be NO exemption for religious prejudice.

Posted by Tom at Thursday, 13 August 2009 at 10:49pm BST

The conservative lobby in the Churches could use their own interpretation of the word *harassment* They could merely refuse to employ, or retain in employment, anyone they suspected of being gay. That could be termed as being factual without employing the tactics of harassment. This could widen the parameters of intentional injustice.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 13 August 2009 at 11:30pm BST

It was always intended to be narrow - essentially, paid clergy.

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 1:56am BST

The conservative lobby in the Churches could not use their own interpretation of the word "harrassment". Any idea that employment tribunals will allow religious institutions to rewrite employment law to suit themselves should have been laid to rest with the Reaney case.

Posted by Gerry Lynch at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 3:56am BST

Let's not confuse the terminology.

The provision for discrimination on grounds of religion, e.g. Christians employing only Christians, is a quite separate matter.

What this article is concerned with is discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Within that, there is in UK law a particular exemption when, and only when, employment is for purposes of an organised religion.

You are quite right, but that is not the point I am discussing here.

Ron and Gerry
My point is, precisely, that harassment is clearly defined in these regulations, and is not covered by the exemption.

In the Reaney case, the issue of harassment was also raised but the tribunal, on the particular facts of the case, rejected that claim.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 8:55am BST

Is your point that both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Durham in their recent public pronouncements COULD be said to be harassing Clergy already in employment? The public statements about their status within Civil Partnerships being incompatible with a 'representative' function surely falls within this area of employment law.

It is also the case that the recently introduced Clergy Discipline Measure weakens the Church of England's contention that Clergy are 'self employed'.

Posted by Commentator at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 9:04am BST


You mean are the bishops (or anyone else for that matter) "creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment" by their public statements?

It's certainly a possibility to consider.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 9:58am BST

Prosecute them?

That would be great! Of course, they could pose as martyrs but the gains would surely outweigh the losses. Even better, they might have to issue full public retractions.

Posted by john at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 10:46am BST

Simon, Commentator: +Durham has certainly been full of threats and intimidation lately...

Posted by Charlotte at Friday, 14 August 2009 at 4:34pm BST
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