Comments: High Court refuses appeal to McFarlane

"Divisive, capricious and arbitrary" sums up Lord Carey's campaign of fear-mongering very well.

Thank-you Lord Justice Laws for speaking some common sense to social conservatives using Christianity as an excuse for mere bad behaviour.

Posted by Fr Mark at Thursday, 29 April 2010 at 4:44pm BST

This judgement and the way it is framed is of very great importance. Can we hope that there will be no more of these cases, funded by 'Christian' groups who wish to change the law to suit themselves and their own narrow interpretation of how we should live and love?

Posted by Richard Ashby at Thursday, 29 April 2010 at 4:49pm BST

A clear victory in the long road to basic human rights. Carey should be ashamed of himself.

Posted by Chris Smith at Thursday, 29 April 2010 at 6:28pm BST

"The case was brought by father-of-two Gary McFarlane, a former Relate counsellor, and backed by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey."

- Article, Daily Mail -

In the words of old-time English comedian Tommy Handley: "It's that man again!" No, not reluctant counsellor McFarlane - but LORD CAREY, whose influence as ex-ABS ought to be extinguished - it is too dangerous for ther Human Rights Movement in the UK.

As for Mr. McFarlane, he will probably be quite careful in choosing his next job, making sure that the job-description allows for his prejudices. People who deal in an intimate way (counselling) with other people have to learn to respect their individual human dignity. If the service which he provides is too deeply 'personal' for his taste, he probably shouldn't be employed in it. Simple as that, really. Perhaps Lord Carey could employ him in his protection squad - against gays.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 29 April 2010 at 8:20pm BST

Has the Daily Mail toned down its response?

A very interesting judgment - but it seems by Lord Carey's response that he has not fully grasped all the essentials.

I appeared with this man on a TV programme where his case was discussed - the minders were very much in attendance - I felt quite sorry for him as I felt he was being manipulated by them. Even more sorry when the interviewer asked him whether any of the eight fellow counselors on his team had supported him.
"No" he said "they all supported my dismissal"

Still, this small group of people are being very effective in making people believe that Christians are being persecuted - They knew that legally they didn't have a leg to stand on and so they grandstanded this with Lord Carey weeping in the wings. They have lost all the reasoned arguments but they are winning the propaganda war - I. like Lord Carey, think they are very dangerous people who will not be satisfied until they have a martyr or two lying in a pool of blood.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Thursday, 29 April 2010 at 9:19pm BST

What a thoughtful, principled, clear and reasoned judgement.

However, I feel ashamed that Christianity has been so represented, by these campaigning groups, assisted by George Carey.

26 'As I have shown Lord Carey's statement also contains a plea for a special court. I am sorry that he finds it possible to suggest a procedure that would, in my judgment, be deeply inimical to the public interest.'

(Penultimate paragraph of the Ruling)

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Thursday, 29 April 2010 at 9:37pm BST

The level of theological 'thought' with which the court was presented is very disappointing and gives great cause for concern. Especially as it was given support by a retired archbishop of Canterbury - the judge spoke of Carey's 'seniority in the church.'

"To the religious adherent 'Religion' is the route to salvation:-
The fear of hell is central to the appellant's religious belief; and individuals ought to be informed of the consequences of hell;
...
The proposition of the appellant's religious belief is that sin will have eternal consequences. Those who do not repent will go to hell when they die..."

Justice Laws treated these and other notions, with great respect and sensitivity.

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Thursday, 29 April 2010 at 9:43pm BST

"10. The description of religious faith in relation to sexual ethics as 'discriminatory' is crude; and illuminates a lack of sensitivity to religious belief. The Christian message of 'love' does not demean or disparage any individual (regardless of sexual orientation); the desire of the Christian is to limit self destructive conduct by those of any sexual orientation and ensure the eternal future of an individual with the Lord."

Having just read the Witness Statement by Lord Carey in the official proceedings of the Court Tribunal which refused the right of Mr McFarlane
to appeal against his dismissal from employment by 'Relate Services', I find this particular section (10) to be quite offensive.

In the final phrase, where the ex-ABC infers that 'it does not demean or disparage any individual (regardless of sexual orientation) to say that: the desire of the Christian (per se): 'is to limit self-destructive conduct by those of any sexual orientation AND ENSURE THE ETERNAL FUTURE of an individual with the Lord'.

The implicit message here is that the practise of homosexuality might jeopardise the homosexual's
'eternal future with the Lord'. What sort of Christian message is this likely to give to any person whose sexual orientation is 'different'?
I think this is an appalling statement to be made by any Christian person - let alone a former ABC!
I really think Lord Carey should cease from his self-appointed guardianship of Anglican morality - the sooner the better. 'Hell-fire and brimstone' as the inevitable fate of gays is no longer an Anglican article of faith. Nor should it be touted as such by ex-official Church Leaders.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 30 April 2010 at 1:53am BST

Thank God for former ABC Carey!

No one else could help us liberals look so darn good!

Posted by MarkBrunson at Friday, 30 April 2010 at 6:15am BST

Leaving the Christian persecution nonsense aside, I don't fully understand this.
Every human being has some hot button issues where they are not able to respond to others with the emotional distance they need. Therapists know this and there are systems in place where individual therapists can pass cases they cannot deal with to others.

I have a friend, for example, who would be unable to counsel someone imnvolved with child abuse. She would not be judgemental, but it would press too many of her own emotional buttons to make her an effective therapist for that client.

Why was the same system not used for someone who just cannot deal with gay people?
After all, if I had a problem I'd rather want to be 100% sure that my therapist is capable of helping me.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 30 April 2010 at 8:12am BST

He was hired to do a job which he subsequently declined fully to do.

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Saturday, 1 May 2010 at 8:48pm BST
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