Thinking Anglicans

recent RC activities on equality legislation

Three developments which though not directly related to the Church of England are relevant to the general topic of such legislation in the UK.

Third Sector reports in Charity takes gay adoption case onward to High Court that:

The Catholic adoption agency that was told by both the Charity Commission and the Charity Tribunal that it could not restrict its services to heterosexual parents will take its case to the High Court.

The tribunal granted permission for the appeal by Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) earlier this month (Third Sector Online, 8 July), but the charity was unsure at the time whether it would go ahead.

Mark Wiggin, chief executive of Catholic Care, told Third Sector the charity would pursue the appeal, but he was unable to give any details about how the case would be funded. Taking the case to the Charity Tribunal cost the charity about £75,000…

Last week in the Tablet the RC Archbishop of Cardiff, Peter Smith wrote about the Equality Bill. His article is titled Voice that must be heard.

English and Welsh Catholic bishops warn that equality legislation currently before Parliament poses a threat to religious freedom. Here the chairman of their Christian Responsibility and Citizenship Committee explains why it is so important to challenge the secular status quo.

And, the RC bishops responded formally to the UK Consultation on the European Commission Proposal for an Equal Treatment Directive. They issued a press notice, and published their response in full, as a PDF. In it they assert that:

…the Church is not seeking special provisions which exempt it from universally applicable requirements.

They do however argue that:

…in the Church’s view an additional sub-paragraph is needed confirming that differences of treatment shall not constitute discrimination where such differences are required to enable a religious body to function in accordance with its ethos. A provision of this nature would go a long way to ensure that competing rights are balanced, rather than religious sensibilities being ignored or becoming the subject of tendentious claims.

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Gerry Lynch
12 years ago

“the Church is not seeking special provisions which exempt it from universally applicable requirements”

Er, yes it is. Wish they’d have the honesty to say that instead of insisting on looking stupid by talking out of both sides of their mouth.

choirboyfromhell
choirboyfromhell
12 years ago

In this country it’s relatively simple. Federal funding has certain guidelines, including Federal Statute. You go against them, not only do you risk breaking the law, you don’t get taxpayer money period.

At a time when the Roman church is closing parishes (thirty some in my diocese of a hundred) and blowing 75,000 quid to defend themselves, it’s obvious at where their heart is.

Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
12 years ago

I am sure we are not surprised what Peter wants to do with his freedom – I share with you just a taste of what he would like to do
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/tm_objectid=15386326&method=full&siteid=50082&headline=outrage-at-archbishop-s-views-on-gay-teachers-name_page.html

such a generous pastoral heart, this one!

drdanfee
drdanfee
12 years ago

What a mild revision: “… differences of treatment shall not constitute discrimination where such differences are required to enable a religious body to function in accordance with its ethos.” What details could it possibly cover or to what real world circumstances/peoples could it possibly apply? Well, the presenting queer folks/adoption issue is clear; and the differential treatment is clear, too. No services to queer folks who are adoptive couples, despite the obvious fact that they will pass and do pass complicated high hurdles involved in screening all adoptive parents. (At least USA state laws demand this, and I’m presuming British-Euro… Read more »

JCF
JCF
12 years ago

Archbishop Smith: “Voice that must be heard”

Equals “She who must be obeyed”?

Gerry Lynch
12 years ago

choirboyfromhell – discrimination against people on the grounds of sexual orientation is illegal in all four constituent countries of the UK except in certain very narrow areas. The employment of clergy is one of those very narrow areas (also exempt from sex discrimination laws at UK country and EU level). The employment of teachers is not unless those teachers are themselves employed to teach doctrine, regardless of whether the school is fully state funded, partially so or not at all. In other words, the RC Archbishop of Cardiff cannot ask Catholic schools in Wales to discriminate against Maths, Physics or… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

One question still remains – for the Roman Catholics and any other organisation which wants to maintain an ethic differing from that of the legal establishment in which they flourish: “How can they expect to receive public funding for their enterprises which undermine and run counter to the human rights and justice ethics of the community from which they seek their funding?”

Even outside of the question of funding. “Why should the Church be seen to countermand the expressed needs of justice in the community they are called by God to serve?

choirboyfromhell
choirboyfromhell
12 years ago

Thanks Gerry for the clarification and lesson, it seems some pigs are more equal than others.

It’s a reflection of a society that people want their clerics to be Gods, because that’s what they end up acting like.

drdanfee
drdanfee
12 years ago

Thanks loads GL for the history reminds bits. We who enter the virtual history and reality of the conservative orthodox must do so at our peril, I suppose; it’s so easy to revise, edit, and above all forget what really happens when these conservative orthodox folks get just the sort of near-absolute power to which they say they still aspire, and which they still preach God gives them via their special apostolic authority as definers of some virtual faith once delivered to the saints. Whew, waking up from all that is heavy, folks. And by the time we occasionally wake… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
12 years ago

The point is that within the church, and directly religious activities, they do have protection. What they do not and should not have is the right to discriminate in secular civil society. We do not live in a theocracy

Rev L Roberts
Rev L Roberts
12 years ago

Smith speaks of ‘the Catholic ethos’. I certainly experienced it during my time at St John’s Seminary,Wonersh –it was far from celibate as far as the seminarians were concerned.

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