Christian Legal Centre’s Roger Kiska highlights the significance of Richard Page’s case.
The battleground issue
The case of Christian magistrate Richard Page will soon be heard by the Employment Appeal Tribunal. It represents a historic claim against the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice, challenging the impartiality of most senior judges within the United Kingdom about the right to hold and express the belief that a child does better with a mother and a father.
Richard first faced discipline in 2014 for saying, in closed chambers – and in relation to an adoption matter – that a child does best with a mother and a father. Unsurprisingly, the incident became the subject of national discourse and Richard was called upon to discuss the situation with various media outlets. His case presents questions of national public importance. Was the UK, in essence, creating a bar to office for holding Christian beliefs? Is it inherently discriminatory to suggest that a child does better with a mother and a father? Is it true? Are we now, as a nation, punishing people for holding Judeo-Christian views which are out of step with the spirit of the times?
Following an appearance on the BBC in 2015, after 15 years of exemplary service, Richard was removed from his post as a magistrate by the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice. His expressing his belief that it is in a child’s best interests to have a mother and a father was deemed so vile, in fact, that he was then also removed from his position as a Non-Executive Director of the Kent and Medway NHS Trust.
A child does do better with a mother and father
There are two principle facts which underpin this case. First, if we look at the case objectively, Richard was doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing as a magistrate in an adoption matter. He was trying to discern what was in the best interests of the child in question. This is the gold standard and it should never be compromised to appease politically correct punditry.
While it is a position based in biblical truth, like any truth, it can be evidenced by secular argumentation. University of Virginia Sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox states the case well:
“Let me now conclude our review of the social scientific literature on sex and parenting by spelling out what should be obvious to all. The best psychological, sociological, and biological research to date now suggests that—on average—men and women bring different gifts to the parenting enterprise, that children benefit from having parents with distinct parenting styles, and that family breakdown poses a serious threat to children and to the societies in which they live.”
Dr Walter Schumm’s excellent book on same-sex parenting, Same-Sex Parenting Research: A Critical Analysis, which analyses nearly 400 studies on same-sex parenting, comes to the same conclusion. As does Loren Marks, who has also published a scholarly analysis of 59 previous studies on same-sex parenting, holding that children growing up in a same-sex household are significantly disadvantaged when compared to those growing up with a mother and a father. In other words, not only is Richard’s belief defensible, it can be demonstrated through expert analysis.
The second fact underpinning this case is that judging Richard for his Christian views is a form of discrimination. As much as one would try to dress it up, it is the height of irony for Richard to be pushed out of office in the name of tolerance and non-discrimination where he himself is being directly discriminated against. Punishing individuals like Richard for beliefs which are held in good faith by many sincere and reasonable people is the very definition of authoritarianism.
What is clear is that other judges, including the highest sitting judges in the nation, have been publicly outspoken about very similar issues without suffering any detriment at all. Quite the opposite; many have received praise for their public statements. The difference between them and Richard, is that these other judges had trumpeted the opposite position from Richard’s.
Lady Hale, the President of the Supreme Court, has, for example, shared her private views on the liberalisation of divorce to the Evening Standard. Sir James Munby, who was President of the Family Division for England and Wales, has gone so far as to publicly say that alternative family models, even those which are polygamous or involve 3 parents, should be applauded.
So the decisive question is why was Richard removed from his position for his alleged bias, and for speaking publicly about his beliefs about the best interests of the child, while Lady Hale and Sir James were not only never scrutinised for doing the exact same thing, but, in fact, received large amounts of praise for having done so? The answer is that we do not live in a tolerant society. The principle of non-discrimination can just as easily be used as a sword to punish those who do not openly adhere to the cultural zietgiest, as it can be used as shield.
What makes this case so important?
This case represents a watershed moment in this nation’s history. The Employment Appeal Tribunal is tasked with ruling on whether an employer, in this case HM Courts & Tribunal Service, the very symbol of justice and fairness in our nation, can create a bar to office for holding and expressing Christian beliefs. More so, not only are those beliefs sincere, but the truth of those beliefs are demonstrable through social science, biology and psychology.
What makes Richard’s case so important is that Richard could just as easily have been any Bible-believing Christian reading these words. He is bearing the burden and public scrutiny of this ordeal so that, God willing, you will never have to. We ask for your prayers for Richard and his family. We pray for wisdom and favour with the Appeal Tribunal. And above all, we pray for this nation and where it is heading. Much lays in the balance.
Find out more about Richard Page