Comments: Christian Legal Centre throws down the gauntlet

How is the Christian Legal Centre financed?

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 9:01am BST

And will the government take Eweida to the Grand Chamber so we get the whole set?

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 9:26am BST

The Tea Party goes to Europe!

Have fun with what we in the U. S. have made the mistake of tolerating too long.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 10:21am BST

The most recent accounts (2012)of the charitable arm (Faith Truth & Hope : registered number 1121897) have been submitted to the Charity Commission but are not yet available on line. The 2011 income is mainly "grants and donations", but not broken down. The accounts of the (campaigning) non-charitable not-for-profit company CCFON Ltd can be purchased; I doubt if they are more revealing. You can find out a bit about the company by googling duedil ccfon.

Posted by american piskie at Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 10:31am BST

I am ashamed to be a Christian.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 11:51am BST

Macfarlane told his line-manager and clinical supervisor one thing, and went ahead and did the opposite. Also, his anti-gay views would debar him from being registered as a counsellor of any stripe, with the BACP.

I am sorry to have to say this, but surely it is germane,that Miss Ladele herself does not practice this, as she chose to have her child without benefit of matrimony ?

As for Chaplin, nothing at all may dangle from the necks of nurses and doctors, in these days of killer infections. Even long sleeves and sitting on edge of beds is banned.

I want them all to do their work honestly and with care - what a witness that would be!

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 12:01pm BST

Ladele's case has some merits (the law changed after she became a registrar, her colleagues were happy to accommodate her beliefs and were doing so and it was only a new employee who complained despite the fact he wasn't affected), McFarlane's is a nonsense and Chaplin's is very shaky given the health and safety implications.

I would like the CLC to drop the other two and concentrate on Ladele on the issue of "accommodation of religious beliefs".

Posted by Peter Ould at Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 4:21pm BST

"I am ashamed to be a Christian."

Not surprising, if you support government efforts to push Christian ideas and practices out of the public square.

Posted by Charles at Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 5:00pm BST

Erica.
It's not clear where their money comes from but in 'the church at war' there is speculation that it is rich fundamentalists from California.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 5:27pm BST

"Ladele's case has some merits"

Ladele's case is self-contradictory.

Her argument is that she disapproves of marriages, and what are to her pseudo-marriages, that are not enacted according to her religious beliefs.

Which would be all fine and dandy, were it not for the minor problem that she was employed to dispense secular, state weddings from which all religion is expunged, and had been doing so quite happily. She can't have it both ways. If she believes that marriages must be according to "God's Law", then she was enabling fornication, as the marriages she dispensed are not valid.

Even if she is able to convince herself that by dispensing civil weddings she was doing God's work, there's not the slightest evidence that she refused to perform civil weddings for couples who had been previously married. Surely these are just as unacceptable as civil partnerships between same-sex couples?

Posted by Interested Observer at Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 7:19pm BST

"It's not clear where their money comes from but in 'the church at war' there is speculation that it is rich fundamentalists from California."

They must have money to burn, because the CLC's track record is appalling. They've lost pretty well every case they've backed (I suppose one might deem the ludicrous case with the BA checkin woman a score draw) and in some cases, notably the car crash that was Eunice Johns v Derby Council, they made themselves look absolutely ridiculous.

Posted by Interested Observer at Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 7:24pm BST

"It's not clear where their money comes from but in 'the church at war' there is speculation that it is rich fundamentalists from California."

I would not be surprised if this is bankrolled by rich, Tea Party, corporate, Americans. There was a group in Colorado Springs exporting it all over the US, so why not Europe? In their minds. And of course, we have the Koch brothers supporting the most heinous causes...

I'm so sorry and I can only recommend that people insist on transparency. We are fighting that battle now.

Posted by Cynthia at Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 8:12pm BST

As someone who has been threatened more than once by Good Christian People, and has friends who've been beaten up more than once (some who have lost teeth to righteous Christian fists), these claims of oppression by Good Christian People who've always dominated everything and who now find themselves suddenly marginalized are the height of unmitigated gall.

Posted by FD Blanchard at Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 9:51pm BST

"'I am ashamed to be a Christian.' Not surprising, if you support government efforts to push Christian ideas and practices out of the public square." Posted by Charles

Au contraire, Charles, I believe LaurenceR is (like myself) ashamed of "Christian" efforts to push the ideas and practices of *Jesus* out of the public square.

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 10:00pm BST

'Religious Freedom', as a concept, surely does not include the freedom to discriminate against the freedom of others.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 25 April 2013 at 10:05am BST

Interested observer - not so. The marriages she has officiated at as a registrar are perfectly valid, and in the eyes of the church.

There is no mechanism by which the Church of England could independently recognise or refuse to recognise a legally valid marriage.

The worry is that the same sex legislation may well induce some to try and devise one ...

Posted by Jonathan Jennings at Thursday, 25 April 2013 at 11:02am BST

Jonathan, the first line of the European Court judgement says "She holds the view that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life". Note: "for life". And yet she must have been remarrying people who had been previously divorced. Which is it?

Moreover, "the church" is a moveable feast, and it's not clear which church she is a member of. The other people in the case are Pentecostalists of various stripes; are any of these cases emanating from people who are members of the CofE?

Posted by Interested Observer at Thursday, 25 April 2013 at 12:09pm BST

Charles,
The idea that setting yourself up as morally superior and that treating those you believe to be morally beneath you badly is a Christian requirement is absolutely astonishing.

Christians are right to be ashamed of it.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 25 April 2013 at 12:48pm BST

" If she believes that marriages must be according to "God's Law", then she was enabling fornication, as the marriages she dispensed are not valid. "

" Interested observer - not so. The marriages she has officiated at as a registrar are perfectly valid, and in the eyes of the church. "

I take the comment to mean 'not valid in her eyes'.

Posted by John Roch at Thursday, 25 April 2013 at 3:23pm BST

John,
but where would you draw the line? Would you also accept that registrars should choose whether to marry divorced people? Or that they should be allowed to refuse to marry previously not married single parents? Or people who had been in prison for something a Christian might disapprove of?

Or is it only same sex couples can be happily discriminated against on "Christian" grounds?
Why?

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 25 April 2013 at 5:55pm BST

John and ii: thanks for helpful clarifications.

Posted by Jonathan Jennings at Thursday, 25 April 2013 at 6:22pm BST

I think she's completely wrong. Whether or not they are valid in her eyes is immaterial.

And it's just my interpretation of the meaning of the last clause [as the marriages . . ] in the post by Interested Observer on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 7:19pm BST. The "if she believes" seems to govern all that follows.


Would Interested Observer like to comment?


Posted by John Roch at Thursday, 25 April 2013 at 9:07pm BST

Erika Baker on Thursday, 25 April 2013 at 5:55pm BST,
Spot on observation!
Here in Colorado, the legislature considered and adopted civil unions for same-sex couples, which the governor happily signed. Opposition legislators made numerous efforts to exempt butchers, bakers, and candle-stick makers who had moral qualms about same-sex couples from the anti-discrimination laws. But! I guarantee you that these same legislators would have been appalled had Christian fundamentalists been discriminated against.

FD Blanchard on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 9:51pm BST,
Also spot on! I am tired and annoyed at certain Christians who feel they are discriminated against because they can't discriminate.

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Thursday, 25 April 2013 at 9:08pm BST

FD Blanchard on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 9:51pm BST
Peter Gross on Thursday, 25 April 2013 at 9:08pm BST Also spot on! I am tired and annoyed at certain Christians who feel they are discriminated against because they can't discriminate.

I, Cynthia, say - Make that 3. 2 from Colorado. Oh, and my partner and I plan to be at the Clerk's office midnight May 1 to get our Civil Union license {that's when it goes into effect). Finally, a measure of justice and decency, though not 100 percent, yet.

Our diocese supported the passing of Civil Unions. Nice!

Posted by Cynthia at Friday, 26 April 2013 at 12:46am BST

Just so we don't get stuck in an echo chamber, let's recall that South Africa has an exemption for civil registrars, who object to same-sex civil marriage on grounds of conscience, and NY has extremely broad exemptions in its new law. How these things are done depend on history and political power (which may be a bad thing, but ...)

Another one from Colorado here...

Posted by Scot Peterson at Friday, 26 April 2013 at 7:51am BST

John, that was my point. The "If she believes" is rhetorical: I am sure that she does so believe.

She is claiming that same-sex marriages offend her religious principles, that marriage is a man and a woman for life. She has already overcome those scruples, because she has officiated at marriages that few churches would perform, between people who have been divorced and whose former spouses are still alive.

So her alleged principles are somewhat flexible. She has already officiated at marriages which are invalid by her own position, and whose result is fornication, again by her own position. Why is marrying same-sex couples any more "wrong" than marrying couples where both are divorcees? ]

The answer is, of course, is that this isn't a debate around subtle points in the theology of marriage, it's about (a few) Christians' hatred for gays, and the demand of (those few) Christians to make that hatred part of their religious identity. Unfortunately, those few bigots sully the good name of the vast, vast majority of Christians for whom love and charity are their guiding principles.

Posted by Interested Observer at Friday, 26 April 2013 at 8:57am BST

Perhaps they are happy to loose their court cases since it helps to perpetuate the 'persecution' myth.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 26 April 2013 at 10:29am BST

Peter Ould is right. The only one of these cases that has real merit is that of Ladele. The comments made by others here bear well in the arguments against her values, but belief only has to be reasonable, not rational.

This case hangs on whether it was reasonable to make all Registrars become Civil Partnership Registrars. The English Courts took a deep breath and said it was, but there was no attempt to hide the Judge's sense of exasperation that this might have been handled differently. Islington did try and accommodate Ms Ladele but there was a complaint (as Peter describes) and a certain lack of give and take from Ms Ladele, but by then her case was being managed and the managers had other fish to fry.

My view is that the Grand Chamber will continue to hold the line that the Council acted with proper discretion.

Jonathan Jennings was, I think, making a completely different and very valid point. Although the CofE resisted remarrying divorcees until recently, the Church still recognised the validity of these marriages. They could do no other, the law compelled them to concur.

What I understood Jonathan to be saying is that the CofE is not only seeking an exemption from marrying same sex couples, but they want to be able to say that they are not a valid marriage.

On the wider stage you have to give credit for how these cases, thin as they are, have been played by those who are propagandising that Christians are persecuted. I have, only 20 minutes ago, removed dozens of copies of a newspaper titled Good News incorporating Challenge from the waiting room of the local hospital.

The lead story for the May 2013 issue is about Eweida. What struck me were the inaccuracies and deceptions. Not the least of these was the claim that the events had taken a toll " financially ". I am sure the reader will not be aware from that that Mrs Eweida has received considerably more in donations since she has become a celebrity than she earned at BA.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 26 April 2013 at 1:02pm BST

While the US lags behind several other countries in recognizing same-sex marriage, Washington State joins the other states who have legalized it. The Episcopal Church is moving toward a liturgy for same-sex marriage, and numerous churches are already performing them. Trinity, Seattle, marched in the Pride parade last summer, in support of SSM, and our new rector plans "an even bigger turnout" this year to demonstrate the full inclusion of ALL persons in the Body of Christ.

I hear of no similar actions by the C of E. have there been any?

Posted by Nat at Friday, 26 April 2013 at 5:30pm BST

Cynthia, Mazel Tov!
This has been a looong time coming.

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Friday, 26 April 2013 at 5:43pm BST

"Perhaps they are happy to loose their court cases since it helps to perpetuate the 'persecution' myth."

Bingo.

Posted by Interested Observer at Saturday, 27 April 2013 at 8:36am BST

Does the Ladele case have merit? She seems to be completely confused as to which bit of 'Christian' teaching she adheres to. Am I right in thinking that she has a child and is not married? I thought that fornication was a sin.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Saturday, 27 April 2013 at 10:31am BST

While the legislator may make exemptions if they wish to, to say they must do so by virtue of the ECHR is simply outrageous. This is the role of Parliament to decide.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Saturday, 27 April 2013 at 9:05pm BST

I suspect that Ms. Ladele might very well agree that fornication is a sin. I'm not sure how that's relevant to the question of whether she should be permitted to abstain from officiating at civil partnership ceremonies.

Posted by Paul Powers at Sunday, 28 April 2013 at 3:39am BST

Paul Powers,
at what point do Christian beliefs become mere homophobia? I would say at the point where someone with a strict traditional Christian ethics on sexual morality can bring herself to officiate at the weddings of every modern couple, single with children, divorced, but not at one of a gay couple.

And the interesting thing is that Civil Partnerships are not even explicitly sexual relationships - the church accepted them precisely because there is no requirement for the couple to have a sexual relationship in order to register a CP.

On what Christian grounds could anyone possibly refuse to witness the signing of a mere legal contract if the motive wasn't plain old fashioned unChristian homophobia alone?

Posted by Erika Baker at Sunday, 28 April 2013 at 5:21pm BST

Erica Baker: The comment to which I was responding didn't deal whether with whether it was appropriate for her to raise a religious objection to officiating at civil partnership ceremonies when she had no qualms about officiating at the marriage of a divorced person, etc. It dealt with the issue of whether Ms. Ladele's having a child out of wedlock (and thus having on at least one occasion committed fornication) somehow makes her objection any less valid than it would be if she had lived a life of perfect continence.

Posted by Paul Powers at Monday, 29 April 2013 at 5:04am BST

Paul Powers,
but would you not say that someone who has no problems with living against the church's official teaching that the only place for sex is marriage is not quite as concerned with Christian sexual morality as it seems when she objects to the supervision of a purely legal contract between two people that does not even explicitly include a sexual relationship?

I don't doubt that she is sincere in her accommodation of divorce and children out of wedlock but that she cannot cope with the idea of same sex relationships. But she cannot with any degree of credibility cite Christian belief in evidence.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 29 April 2013 at 8:29am BST
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