Churches will be forced to employ homosexual youth workers
Before Cranmer continues, he seeks the advice of his communicants: may one use the word ‘homosexual’ any longer? Or is it, like the term ‘Roman Catholic’, considered by some practitioners to be derogatory or pejorative? Is ‘gay’ more gay-friendly?
Maria Eagle is the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Government Equalities Office. She is the twin sister of Angela Eagle, who holds the distinction of being Parliament's first, and thus far only, openly lesbian member. Nothing whatsoever wrong with that: where Ms Eagle soars in her own time, and whither she ducks and dives in the privacy of her own home, is absolutely nothing to do with the State.
Unless, perhaps, Maria Eagle’s equalities agenda be influenced my sensitivities to familial loyalties.
The Equalities Bill does not go as far as forcing churches to employ homosexual priests, vicars or pastors: the State will graciously continue to permit those who preach the Word to live it. But churches may no longer discriminate against homosexuals youth workers, secretaries and other staff, even if their tradition holds same-sex relationships to be sinful.
It has been observed in recent years that that Christians are being disproportionately affected and unfairly targeted by discrimination laws. Christian leaders had hoped that churches would be exempt from the provisions of the Equality Bill, but Maria Eagle has stated that it will cover almost all church employees. She addressed delegates at a London conference for ‘Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia (that’s a new one) and Human Rights’, and told them:
‘The circumstances in which religious institutions can practise 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.’
What about protecting Christians from ‘unfair treatment’? Or is it ‘fair’ that church adoption agencies may be forced to prefer homosexual adoptive parents; or Christian unions may be led by non-believers; or Christians lose their jobs for merely offering to pray with someone, or suspended for daring to oppose ‘gay marriage’?
'Organised religion’ is no longer to be exempt from the homosexual equality agenda: the Equality Bill specifies exemptions only for those who lead the liturgy or spend the majority of the time teaching doctrine. ‘Diversity’ in all other aspects of church life is to be enforced, and this constitutes an undoubted threat to orthodoxy and distinct religious identity. If churches may no longer discriminate against practising homosexuals ‘in the provision of good and services’, will it be lawful to bar them from taking bread and wine? The Eucharist is manifestly a ‘service’: is the State presuming to determine whom the Church may or may not excommunicate?
It is, however, somewhat puzzling that the Government is of the opinion that church youth workers do not spend the majority of their time teaching doctrine. But that point has already been tested, and the church lost.
Why are political parties exempt from discrimination legislation? Why is a card-carrying member of the Conservative Party not permitted to work for the Labour Party? How can such an unjust discrimination be tolerated?
Or is this yet another shameful example of politicians imposing regulations upon the electorate while simultaneously exempting themselves? Do they never learn?
And Cranmer still yearns to know why Ms Eagle did not make it clear in her address to the ‘Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia and Human Rights’ conference that this Bill will oblige mosques to employ homosexual youth workers, secretaries, architects, builders, window cleaners, etc., etc.
Perhaps it is too near an election to disclose the plan of Mutually Assured Destruction.