Draconian Equalities Bill has it’s wings clipped

Harriet HarmanImage by skuds via Flickr

Harriet Harman and our wonderful government was intent on introducing amendments to the Equalities Bill which could have led churched into legal difficulties with employing people whose public and personal conduct was inconsistent with the beliefs of the church. The government claimed that wasn’t the case but the awful wording of the bill would have given a green light to those opposed to the church to cause untold damage. However the House of Lords has stepped in and for all intents and purposes has knocked the amendments on the head.

Now I’m no fan of the House of Lords per se and think we need a democratically elected second chamber, but thank God for them at this time.

This government speaks with a forked tongue on matters of faith. They go on about ‘inclusivity’ and ‘diversity’ but when it comes to the Christian faith then their real intentions show through. They have already run the Catholic adoption agencies out of town and were hoping to socially engineer the institution of the church with this bill, to remake it in the image of ‘New Labour‘.

And may God bless those who have been brave enough to put their head above the parapet to show their displeasure with this bill. They have risked having vile unfounded accusations made against them by those who hate the church and all it has given to our society.

  • John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, added: “Where are the examples of actual abuses that have caused difficulties? Where are the court rulings that have shown that the law is defective? If it ain’t broke, why fix it? The truth is that there are none because the status quo has been working perfectly satisfactorily.”
  • Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the Conservatives’ shadow minister for Community Cohesion, hailed the vote as a “victory for common sense”. She said: “We delivered a blow against the governments attempt to narrow the definition of ‘employment’ for the purposes of religion.”
  • Lady Butler-Sloss, one of Britain’s longest serving senior judges, told peers the Bill would restrict “the rights of religious groups to work with those of the same views and same religious convictions and it will, if passed, create the confusion it seeks to avoid.”
  • Labour peer Lord Davies added: “My support for my Government is second only to my Christian view. My view is that the standards and morals of the Christian church makes this country a much better place and I shall always oppose any measures that seek to marginalise the Christian Church.”

But of course if it’s religion in the public sphere then you can guarantee the fundamentalists will be waiting in the wings with their sharpened daggers.

Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said: “The Government has faced a humiliating defeat at the hands of religious agitation in the Lords. The National Secular Society will once more complain to the European Commission. It is now quite likely the Government will be prosecuted in the European Court of Justice.”

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3 thoughts on “Draconian Equalities Bill has it’s wings clipped

  1. Perhaps a bit harsh with the wording there Steve? If you look at where the author of APoS draws their inspiration and worldview then you can understand their posting. Although I do wish they wouldn't follow the media line of thinking about this issue simply in terms of 'sexuality', it's much more broad than that.

  2. The comment on here is certainly more thorough and less ranty but we all frame our comments according to our prejudice and Chris is right that I have done so too. I make the assumption that any use of power against the powerless is bad. The House of Commons use power against the Church and the House of Lord's (including homophobic bishops)use power against the church which, by and large, is not homophobic but puts up with homophobic leadership. These Lords are not defending the conscience of the Church against a draconian equalities bill they are defending the draconian status quo against LGBT Christians. The solution doesn't lay in the hands of either house but in the good sense and Christian love of the laity who – as ever – will show the way. Love, keith

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