Press Release

Christian doctor suing government following dismissal over transgender pronouns

9 July 2019         Issued by: Christian Legal Centre

An experienced doctor will today (Tuesday 9 July) challenge the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rt Hon. Amber Rudd MP, at Birmingham Employment Tribunal, after he was sacked for refusing to use transgender pronouns.

Dr David Mackereth, 56, who had been an A&E doctor for 26 years in the NHS, lost his job doing assessments for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for his refusal to identify clients by their chosen gender instead of their biological sex.

Dr Mackereth maintained that using ‘transgender pronouns’ was against his conscience as a doctor and a Bible-believing Christian.

In response, the DWP declared that failing to accommodate clients’ preferences would amount to “harassment” under the Equality Act and dismissed Dr Mackereth from his role as a ‘Health and Disability Assessor.’

Dr Mackereth’s legal case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre.

Breached right to thought, conscience and religion

Dr Mackereth’s lawyers will argue that the DWP policy of compelling staff to use ‘transgender pronouns’ is a breach of the Equality Act and that the DWP has breached Dr Mackereth’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

His legal team will argue that his “conscientious objection to transgenderism” is based on his belief “that it would be irresponsible and dishonest for a health professional to accommodate and/or encourage a patient’s impersonation of the opposite sex”.

They will further argue that the DWP discriminated against Dr Mackereth because of his Christian beliefs, including: “His belief in the truth of the Bible, and in particular, the truth of Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” It follows that every person is created by God as either male or female. A person cannot change their sex/gender at will. Any attempt at, or pretence of, doing so, is pointless, self-destructive, and sinful.”

‘My conscience is captive to the Word of God’

After 26 years’ experience working for the NHS, Dr Mackereth began assessing clients for the DWP as a Health and Disability Assessor in June 2018. After undergoing intensive training, his role was to assess individual cases and prepare reports which the DWP use to determine a client’s eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance.

However, after only a few days of work, he was summoned for an urgent meeting with James Owen from the APM employment agency which had successfully head-hunted Dr Mackereth for the role. Mr Owen was concerned about a sceptical comment Dr Mackereth made during an earlier training session, where he was told that his report must refer to clients by such pronouns as they may choose, regardless of their sex.

Mr Owen allegedly put the following question to Dr Mackereth: “What would you do if you were to assess someone who is obviously a man but asks to be referred to as ‘she’ or ‘Missis’ in the report?”. Dr Mackereth replied that as a Christian, he could not accede to such a request in good conscience. He was then suspended.

‘We are not allowed to think what we believe’

Mr Owen then twice wrote to Dr Mackereth to ask him “one final time” whether he would comply with the DWP’s requirements. However, Dr Mackereth replied:

“I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. He made all things including/especially mankind. We read that He made them “male and female” (Genesis chapter 1 verse 27.)

“In good conscience I believe that gender is determined by biology and genetics, and I see no reason to be in any way ashamed of that.

“So when it comes to these matters, I think of the great 16th Century Reformer, Martin Luther who stated at the Diet of Worms “My conscience is captive to the Word of God. Here I stand, I can do no other. So help me God.”

A week later, Dr Mackereth was dismissed from his post.

Dr Mackereth said:

“I am determined to fight for justice in this case as firstly, as a society and in the medical profession, we are not allowed to say what we believe. Secondly, as my case shows, we are not allowed to think what we believe. Finally, we are not allowed to defend what we believe. Christians must be able to hold and express their faith in private and public and to uphold Biblical and scientific truths without fear of losing their livelihoods.”

‘Truth is being suppressed’

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said:

“Dr Mackereth is a Christian hero who chose to sacrifice his distinguished professional career rather than compromise on the Bible and his conscience. The requirement to use so-called transgender pronouns defies common sense and Christian faith. It serves no useful purpose except filtering out firm Christians and men of principle such as Dr Mackereth.

“If we tolerate this as a society, if we give in on the essential freedom of thought, conscience and religion, no other freedom is safe. We are determined to fight all the way to secure justice in this case.

“If freedom to tell the truth – in this case calling a man “he” and a woman “she” – is suppressed, then truth itself is suppressed.”

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