Regulation 7(3) in the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 permits religious organisations, but nobody else, to claim an “exception for genuine occupational requirement” related to sexual orientation as distinct from a requirement to be of a particular sexual orientation. The latter exception is provided in Regulation 7(2), and may be claimed by any employer.
The Equality Bill now before Parliament proposes to alter this regulation, among others. In particular a specific definition of “the purposes of organised religion” has been added.
The adoption of the regulation in 2003 was not without controversy. I wrote extensively about this at the time and will review that history here now, for the benefit of those who were not following Thinking Anglicans six years ago.
Regulation 7(3) arose directly from a request made by the Church of England.
Here is the full text of the 23 January 2003 submission made by the Archbishops’ Council to the DTI consultation “The Way Ahead”. The crucial section reads:
…21. This does not mean that the Church challenges the principle that homosexuals should have full equality and protection before the law. On the contrary, we welcome the steps taken over recent years to combat all prejudice, to repudiate homophobic violence and to create new legal safeguards and protections. The new regulations are an important part of that process. Nevertheless, it is crucial that they do not encroach on the freedom which all religious organisations must have to set and enforce their own conduct rules in relation to those who work for and represent them.
22. What those conduct rules should be is a matter of continuing debate within the Church of England and indeed within many other Churches. The point is simply that however those internal debates are resolved, Churches and other faith-based organisations must not find themselves in a position where the law of the land is preventing them from conscientiously applying their own sincerely held doctrines and beliefs on moral issues.
23. The need to safeguard religious doctrine, belief and susceptibilities was, of course, recognised as long ago as 1975 by Section 19 of the Sex Discrimination Act. A corresponding provision was included by the Government in the Gender Reassignment Regulations of 1999. Our officials have already suggested to yours that the solution to our difficulties could be provided by a provision directly modelled on the earlier precedents.
24. We strongly urge the Government therefore to insert in part 5 of the Regulations the following provision:
“Nothing in parts II to IV of these Regulations shall render unlawful anything done for the purposes or in connection with an organised religion so as to comply with the doctrines of the religion or avoid offending the religious susceptibilities of a significant number of its followers.”
That proposal was based on what was at the time the wording of Section 19 of the Sex Discrimination Act.
The government did not accept this wording unchanged but did issue a revised draft on 7 May which included 7(3) for the first time. See here for a comparison of the two drafts. The first was what had gone out to consultation in October 2002, the second was issued on 7 May. There had been no prior notice of the changes being made to Clause 7. The text of the explanatory notes is here.3 Comments
As you can see from earlier articles here, there is a considerable fuss about certain clauses in the new Equality Bill. The main, but not the only fuss, relates to sexual orientation.
To understand this subject, you need to have the actual texts, not only of the proposed clauses, but also of the current legislation that they are intended to replace.
Equality Bill, Schedule 9, Clause 2. On this copy I have underlined those parts of the new wording that are, in my opinion, significant.5 Comments
From San Joaquin:
Press release Letters of deposition sent
PDF of deposition notice
Bishop Schofield responds, see here.
From Fort Worth:
PDF of letter from Bishop Gulick
Southern Cone Legal Update- May 27 Hearing
For an eyewitness account see Lionel Deimel My Day in Court.
PDF of TEC intervention here
PDF of Bp Duncan’s filing here6 Comments
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that MPs did not drop from the sky.
Last week, Paul Vallely wrote about The lost art of the expenses claim.
Terry Waite wrote earlier this week in The Times that We independents could bring on reform.
Jonathan Sacks writes today in The Times about How Jacob conquered the defining crisis of his life.
Jonathan Romain writes in the Guardian that Faith communities could improve places of worship by learning from football fans.
Andrew Brown wrote at Cif belief about the trip From Avignon to Geneva.
Mark Vernon reported from the Hay Festival on Rowan, Dostoevsky and a world without God.15 Comments
There have been quite a few of these during the last week.
The Church of England Newspaper has a news report by Toby Cohen Churches warned over equality laws. In the paper edition the headline was Minister’s warning to churches on equality.
And Andrew Carey discussed it in his regular opinion column in the same issue, headlined A chilling strategy (reproduced at Anglican Mainstream).
The Spectator published an article by Melanie Phillips entitled The sexualisation of heresy.
Christian Concern for our Nation published Equality Bill will force Churches to Employ Homosexuals. Earlier this organisation had published Equality Bill: An Unworkable, Muddled Hierarchy of Rights.
Neil Addison at Religion Law Blog wrote Religious Freedom in England Today.17 Comments
ACNS has issued Anglican Covenant Working Group – Names announced.
The text of the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Covenant received strong support at the recent ACC meeting in Jamaica. However concern was expressed that Section 4 had not received the same degree of Provincial consideration that Sections 1-3 had. ACC-14 proposed that Provinces be given time to consider Section 4, that a small Working Group be set up to consider adjustment to Section 4 of the text in the light of Provincial responses, and to ask that Group to report to the Standing Committee before the end of the year.
The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General have now announced the names of the Working Group. They are:
- The Most Revd Dr John Neill, Archbishop of Dublin (Chair);
- The Most Revd Dr John Chew, Primate of South East Asia;
- Dr Eileen Scully, Anglican Church of Canada;
- The Rt Revd Dr Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph in the Church in Wales and former Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.
All have been involved in the Covenant Process to date. Staff support will be provided by Neil Vigers (Anglican Communion Office) and the Revd Canon Joanna Udal (Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for Anglican Communion Affairs).
Meanwhile the Ridley Cambridge Draft text of the Covenant has been sent to Provinces seeking their comments on Section 4 of the Covenant. Responses are requested by 13th November this year. The Working Group will meet on 20 – 21 November in London and report to the Standing Committee meeting of 15 – 18 December.
Although the Church of Sweden is not a part of the Anglican Communion, several provinces of the latter are in full communion with it, by virtue of the Porvoo Agreement. See map showing which provinces here.
The Diocese of Stockholm (link to website in English) has just elected a new bishop. The official news reports are here and also here (both in Swedish). (if the CofS website not working well, here is a Swedish church newspaper report.)
Here’s a report in English from Karl’s Comments:
Lesbian bishop-elect in Stockholm
The Diocese of Stockholm in the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden has elected a new bishop after Caroline Krook, who is retiring. The new bishop-elect is Eva Brunne (55), who received 413 votes against 365 for Hans Ulfvebrand, her opponent in the final second round of the election on May 26.
Bishop-elect Brunne has extensive experience as vicar in the parishes of Flemingsberg and Sundbyberg. Especially Flemingsberg has given her insights into the present religious situation in urban Sweden, where the Church of Sweden is increasingly becoming a minority church, in parallel with Catholic and Orthodox churches of different hue, as well as Muslim and non-religious people. In Flemingsberg, she habitually introduced herself as “the Evangelical Lutheran pastor”, just to make sure.
Eva Brunne lives in a registered partnership with another woman, and has a three-year-old son.
Another blogger reports change is a-coming at prästflickan:
On Monday the Diocese of Stockholm voted for a new bishop. The person who won is called Eva Brunne, and she will be the fifth female bishop in the Church of Sweden.
I know her a little. My experience of her is that she is wise, kind, pious, structured, humble and funny. She is also known to be loyal and a very good leader who takes care of her flock, both employees and other sheep smiles
All in all, she seems to be a perfect choice for bishop, right?
But are those qualities listed above what people discuss? Are they what makes blogs and comments splutter with indignant rage? Of course not. Some people don’t care about Eva’s suitability. The only thing that makes all of these bloggers go absolutely bananas is the fact that Eva happens to be married to a woman.
Funny. And tragic. Mostly tragic.
Please pray for Eva and the Diocese of Stockholm. They have made a good choice, and a brave choice, and your prayers will be needed.
Hat tip Kelvin.34 Comments
From the Church of England website today
Downing Street announced this morning that “The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend James William Scobie Newcome MA, FRSA, Suffragan Bishop of Penrith, for election as Bishop of Carlisle in succession to the Right Reverend Geoffrey Graham Dow, MA, BSc, MSc, MPhil, who resigned on 30 April 2009.”
Penrith is a suffragan see to Carlisle.
The local Cumbrian press published this about three quarters of an hour before the CofE.
Times and Star New Bishop of Carlisle announced
Saturday 20 June
10.30 Pilgrimage Procession from Roman Verulamium
(the site of Alban’s trial)
11.30 Festival Eucharist
Preacher: The Rt Revd Graeme Knowles, Dean of St Paul’s
11.30 Children’s Worship and Activities in the Abbey Primary School. Celebrations of St Alban continue with drama, games and worship. All children welcome.
From lunchtime food and drink will be available from the Café at the Abbey and stalls on the Abbey Orchard, along with chariot racing, lion taming, bouncy castles, circus skills, and lots more.
14.00 Molieben (Orthodox Service of Intercession)
held at the Shrine of Saint Alban: all welcome.
16.00 Festival Evensong and Procession to the Shrine
Preacher: The Revd Canon Giles Fraser, Vicar of Putney
Groups and individuals are warmly welcome to take part in the Festival Pilgrimage.
To help with our planning, please register to let us know you’re coming! Contact the Cathedral Office on 01727 890245 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Information for Pilgrims is available as PDF file.8 Comments
Updated again Saturday
The trial before BC Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kelleher over the lawsuit brought by members of four dissident congregations against the Diocese of New Westminster began today (May 25) in Vancouver.
Those bringing the suit, 22 leaders in the four congregations, including three former diocesan priests, have left the Anglican Church of Canada, but want to keep their parish buildings, which the Diocese of New Westminster says it owns.
Read more about this from the diocese:
Some prominent members of the Church of England are supporting the group bringing the lawsuit, see Bishop Michael Nazir Ali adds support to St John’s Shaughnessy at Anglican Mainstream. Also, Letter of support for St John’s Shaughnessy Vancouver from Anglican Mainstream.
From the Anglican Network of Canada:
Mediation unsuccessful; Parishes and Diocese of New Westminster head for trial on May 25 over church property
Day 1 – Trial of ANiC Parishes v Diocese of New Westminster
Day 2 – Trial of ANiC Parishes v Diocese of New Westminster – May 26, 2009
And now also from Anglican Journal
B.C. Supreme Court begins to hear case over New Westminster diocese properties
And again from the diocese:
Dissident Anglicans say they were upset by more than same sex blessings
And support from Church of England Evangelical Council recorded here.
Saturday updates18 Comments
Updated Tuesday evening
Update The text of the “Waddington amendment” can be seen in the context of the legislation it amends by going here.
Today’s Observer has a report by Jamie Doward headlined Bishops fight for right to criticise gay lifestyle.
Church of England bishops are on a collision course with the government over its plans to amend the incitement to hatred laws, claiming they will stifle what they believe is legitimate criticism of homosexual lifestyles.
In what is being portrayed in some parliamentary quarters as a battle for free speech, a coalition of Anglican bishops, Conservative peers, Labour malcontents and leading crossbenchers have united to block the proposals.
You can read exactly what the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham said over here.
For the background to this development, see these two TA articles from 2007:
The latter item contains a link to the statement issued jointly by the Church of England and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales at that time.
More recently (my copy undated, but was sent to me in March) the CofE issued a briefing note to parliamentarians which is reproduced in full below the fold. This shows that the CofE has changed its mind since 2007 about the adequacy of the legislation as originally proposed:
…While we were satisfied with the definition of the offence as it stood, we believe that the amendment successfully moved by Lord Waddington now provides a valuable safeguard…
(The relevant clause was numbered 58 in the original bill but because of other amendments has now becomes clause 61.)32 Comments
“The European Parliamentary and local elections on June 4th will take place at a time of extraordinary turbulence in our democratic system. It is a time for great vigilance over how to exercise our democratic right to vote.
“The temptation to stay away or register a protest vote in order to send a negative signal to the parties represented at Westminster will be strong. In our view, however, it would be tragic if the understandable sense of anger and disillusionment with some MPs over recent revelations led voters to shun the ballot box.
“Those whom we elect to local councils and the European Parliament will represent us and our collective interests for many years to come. It is crucial to elect those who wish to uphold the democratic values and who wish to work for the common good in a spirit of public service which urgently needs to be reaffirmed in these difficult days.
“There are those who would exploit the present situation to advance views that are the very opposite of the values of justice, compassion and human dignity are rooted in our Christian heritage.
“Christians have been deeply disturbed by the conscious adoption by the BNP of the language of our faith when the effect of those policies is not to promote those values but to foster fear and division within communities, especially between people of different faiths or racial background.
“This is not a moment for voting in favour of any political party whose core ideology is about sowing division in our communities and hostility on grounds of race, creed or colour; it is an opportunity for renewing the vision of a community united by mutual respect, high ethical standards and the pursuit of justice and peace.
“We hope that electors will use their vote on June 4th to renew the vision of a community united by the common good, public service and the pursuit of justice.”
Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York
This statement also appeared on the CofE website at 8.45 pm Sunday. It has yet to appear on the Lambeth Palace website.8 Comments
Nitin Mehta writes about Indian religions in the Guardian.
Also Stephen Bates reviews Rupert Shortt’s biography of Rowan Williams, see God’s squad.
In The Times Roderick Strange writes about Bede. See More than a brief flight through warmth and light.
At the Church Times Giles Fraser reflects on his job change in Seeking the reality of solid joys.
A week ago, Paul Vallely wrote Get some perspective on MPs’ cash.
And Adrian Thatcher wrote The Word was made of flesh and blood, not ink.
Over at Cif belief Ben White wrote Palestinian rights deserve Anglican action.9 Comments
Updated again Monday morning
Ruth Gledhill reports in The Times about an article to be published on Saturday by Rowan Williams.
Her blog entry: Archbishop of Canterbury: ‘Stop humiliating our MPs.’
Her preview article, with video: Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams: humiliation of MPs must stop
Here is the article itself: Enough humiliation. We must move on by Rowan Williams.
The Independent has a leader agreeing with the archbishop, The pursuit of MPs is becoming a witch-hunt.
The Telegraph has an article headlined MPs’ expenses: politicians and church leaders defend Telegraph’s investigation which reports the opinions others, including Lord Carey and the Bishop of Rochester, and opening with:
There was strong opposition to a call from Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, for an end to the “systematic humiliation” of MPs, which he claimed was undermining democracy…
Ekklesia has published Poll challenges Archbishop’s idea that expenses scandal is bad for democracy and You’re missing the point, archbishop told over scandal-hit MPs. And also Public backs independent candidates to challenge failing system.
Update Monday morning
George Pitcher has some interesting comments about all this, in the Telegraph. See MPs’ expenses: Things the Archbishops never told us.
…unbeknown to either of us, as we were talking a column by his successor to the See of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was being put to bed by The Times, along with the headline: “Archbishop appeals for end to MPs’ humiliation”.
When I relayed the headline to Lord Carey later, he said he was “surprised that Rowan is taking this approach”. So, presumably, was Dr Williams. Because actually he had said nothing of the sort.
Reports are now available (PDF files) concerning
Download these and earlier reports from this page.19 Comments
There have been several reports following up on the conference last Saturday.
Ekklesia was first onto the web with Religious and non-religious unite to combat homophobia and transphobia by Savi Hensman.
Telegraph Matthew Moore Law ‘will force churches to employ gay staff’.
The Church Times has a report Equality exemption ‘narrow’, written by me. See text below the fold.16 Comments
And in a related story Bill Bowder wrote Pope could help, says Nazir-Ali.
Ruth Gledhill also reported that address, see Michael Nazir-Ali: Anglicans must ‘look to Pope for unity’.
Mouneer Anis published Bishop Mouneer’s Reflection on the ACC-14 Meeting in Jamaica, May 2009.4 Comments
This press release from the Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia, & Human Rights Conference held on Saturday:
UK GOVERNMENT WILL STAND FIRM AGAINST FAITH EXEMPTIONS ON LGBT EQUALITIES
Government Equalities Minister, Maria Eagle pledged that she and other Ministers would stand firm against any attempts by faith groups to get out of the demands of LGBT legislation and the forthcoming Equality Bill.
Addressing a cutting-edge UK conference, Faith, Homophobia. Transphobia, & Human Rights – building positive alliances for equality and sexual diversity, Ms. Eagle pointed out :
“Values of equality and social justice are held by many within as well as outside faith communities. The circumstances in which religious institutions can practice anything less than full equality are few and far between. While the state would not intervene in narrowly ritual or doctrinal matters within faith groups, these communities cannot claim that everything they run is outside the scope of anti-discrimination law. Members of faith groups have a role in making the argument in their own communities for greater LGBT acceptance, but in the meantime the state has a duty to protect people from unfair treatment.”
The Minister’s position was reflected in the views of other Conference speakers from a variety of faith, spiritual, and non-religious backgrounds. Bringing greetings from TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, Peter Purton from the TUC Equality & Employment Rights Department, warned that people resisting progress towards rights for all “have stolen the language of religion.”
Audio recordings of the speakers are also available:
More material is available here.39 Comments
Monday 18 May 2009
Canonry of St Paul’s Cathedral
The Queen has approved that the Reverend Canon Giles Anthony Fraser, MA, PhD, Team Rector of St Mary’s Putney, in the diocese of Southwark and Honorary Canon of Sefwi-Wiawso, Ghana, be appointed to a Residentiary Canonry of St Paul’s Cathedral in succession to the Reverend Canon Edmund John Newell, BSc (Econ), DPhil, MA, FRHistS.
Notes for the Editors
The Reverend Dr Fraser (aged 45), was educated first at Newcastle University and then at Oxford University. He studied for his PhD at Lancaster University. He trained for the ministry at Ripon College. His first curacy was at Streetly, in the Lichfield diocese from 1993 to 1997. From 1997 to 2000 he was a curate at St Mary Virgin with St Cross and St Peter, in Oxford diocese, and was also Chaplain at Wadham College Oxford. From 2000 to 2004 he was Vicar at St Mary’s Putney in the diocese of Southwark before becoming Team Rector in 2004. Since 2009 he has been Honorary Canon at Sefwi-Wiawso in Ghana.
Dr Fraser is married to Sally and they have three children. His interests are golf and cooking.
And from the Diocese of London:
Giles Fraser becomes Canon Chancellor at St Paul’s
The Revd Dr Giles Fraser, currently Vicar of Putney in the Diocese of Southwark, is to be the next Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral.
As Canon Chancellor, Dr Fraser will oversee the work of the St Paul’s Institute for ethics, and its ambitious, outward-facing programme. He will play a full part in the life of the cathedral and will contribute to its overall mission as a place of prayer, pilgrimage and debate.
Dr Fraser (45) was educated at Newcastle and Oxford before being ordained into the Oxford Diocese in 1993. He worked as a parish priest and chaplain in Oxford until 2000 when he moved to Putney in south London.
In recent years, he has developed a reputation for facing difficult issues head on in his weekly column in the Church Times and as a regular presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. He is the author and co-author of several books.
A passionate Anglican, he is regarded as a priest with a rare ability to identify those issues which non church goers find off-putting and to engage in debate with them.
The Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres said:
“The St Paul’s Institute is one of the most exciting aspects of the developing ministry of St Paul’s Cathedral. Giles Fraser brings imagination, energy and wide experience to this crucial educational task.”
The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Rt Revd Graeme Knowles said that he was delighted that Dr Fraser is to join the team at St Paul’s:
“This appointment will add a new dimension to the life of the cathedral and we look forward to working collaboratively with Giles as the newest member of Chapter.”
Dr Fraser said:
“I am hugely excited about working at St Paul’s. The church in general, and St Paul’s in particular, has a significant role in public debate. I am looking forward to joining a great team and playing my part in such an exciting place.”
Dr Fraser is expected to leave Putney during the summer and be ready for his new ministry at St Paul’s later this autumn.
This event is now reported on the website of the cathedral itself, but because the news items there do not appear in date order (newest item should be at the top – the new item is in fact undated!) it is easily missed:
Giles Fraser becomes Canon Chancellor
The Revd Dr Giles Fraser, currently Vicar of Putney in the Diocese of Southwark, is to be the next Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral.
St Paul’s is run by the Dean and Chapter which includes men and women as Residentiary canons with various portfolios. They represent the whole working life of one of the world’s best known Cathedral churches.
As Canon Chancellor, Dr Fraser will fulfil the role of Residentiary Canon overseeing the work of the St Paul’s Institute for ethics, and its ambitious, outward-facing programme. He will play a full part in the life of the cathedral and will contribute to its overall mission as a place of prayer, pilgrimage and debate…
First, there is a fund-raising event:
Friday 26 June • 6.00pm–9.00pm
Inclusive Church Presents…
The National Gallery. Your own private view.
with Neil MacGregor and Nicholas Holtam
followed by a reception buffet with wine at St Martin-in-the-Fields
A unique opportunity to view some of the famous works hung in The National Gallery, London as well as the chance to hear Neil and Nicholas discuss some of the Gallery’s artworks. Later in the evening there will also be a opportunity to see the newly-restored St Martin’s and a very special illuminated Bible that is currently being exhibited there.
Neil MacGregor is Director of the British Museum and was, from 1987-1992, Director of the National Gallery. Nicholas Holtam is Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields.
Second, there is additional information about the residential conference “Word on the Street – reading the Bible inclusively” on Monday 5th – Wednesday 7th October 2009. See earlier article here.
The Most Revd Dr Idris Jones, Primus of Scotland and one of IC’s Patrons will preside at the eucharist – Canon Frankie Ward from Bradford Cathedral will be our inspiring and exciting preacher, and Dr Andrew Mein from Westcott will speak on Inclusion and the Old Testament.
Download the PDF with full details of the conference and a booking form from here.4 Comments