Why the Johns case will not be appealed

10 March 2011

So argued the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the case of Johns v Derby using the word ‘infected’; an argument implicitly accepted by the Court who held that the views of Christian foster carers on sexual morality could be ‘inimical’ to the welfare of children in care. The Commission has now said it was an ‘error’ to have used this term but did not retract this statement when I raised it in court.

It is a very pertinent question to ask especially in light of the fact that I have reluctantly advised the Johns not to appeal; such an appeal would normally be expected but now, in my opinion, futile – a waste of resources. The Courts are so set against religious freedom for Christians that an appeal is likely to only make matters worse.

The problem is a combination of bad laws and, in recent years, a number of poor judicial appointments by the previous Government. Where there are excellent Judges they are restricted by bad laws. Unfortunately, there are also Judges making law based on personal predilections. Parliament must remedy this situation as a matter of urgency.

The ideals of the Equality Acts and the Sexual Orientation Regulations have much to commend them in so far as all civilised people would not accept overt discrimination against any person based on irrelevant considerations as to their sexual orientation or faith. However, the laws are bad. They are poorly drafted leaving too much discretion to the Courts; they are contradictory in so far as one cannot have a society without substantive values. Finally and most importantly these laws are political laws seeking a political objective.

The laws are currently being used to eradicate Judeo Christian morality and usher in secular values. The secular movement is but a variant of the Utopian ambitions that have inspired man from the beginning of time.  However, the end game of such programmes is always the same. To repeatedly promote a failed ideology is base ignorance or at its worst criminal. Coerced morality or coerced immorality (depending on one’s perspective) is not the hallmark of a free society.

In all too many instances, the attempt by Christians to seek justice in the courts is a barren experience; almost as if a special animosity is reserved for adherents of this faith.  In recent years, I have argued cases that I would have thought of as unthinkable back in 1997. In the British Airways Cross case, our national flag carrier permitted the wearing of the hijab, the Sikh turban and the Siska Hindu ponytail, but banned the wearing of a small Cross around the neck, the size of a sixpence. The court held that there was no discrimination against Christians because a Muslim would have received the same treatment and been similarly dismissed for wearing a Cross. Astonishingly, the Appeal Court in the case required evidence to back the claim that the Cross was a symbol that Christians wore as part of their faith. Further, the courts have made the evidential requirement for this so complex it is likely never to be satisfied.

In another case, an employee was disciplined for expressing an unacceptable view; namely his support for marriage in a private conversation with a fellow employee as this discriminated against people living together. In another, a nurse made the serious violation of asking a patient if she wanted prayer.  Churches have had noise abatement notices served on them for singing hymns too loudly on a Sunday morning. I could go on about the countless other cases where no permissible accommodation of conscience is permitted for Christian marriage, registrars or bed and breakfast owners.

As the laws drive out the Christian faith from public life on absurd applications of anti-discrimination laws, the Lord Chief Justice and the Archbishop of Canterbury have supported the introduction of parts of Sharia law.

This liberal tyranny must be rejected by the British people. The law is now prejudiced, irrational and partial; it punishes individuals for ‘thought crime’ and the State endorses an inverse morality. Many British people despair of the law enforcement agencies and have (rightly) little confidence that they will achieve justice in the courts. There is no reason in law or otherwise why sexual orientation rights should prevail over religious rights. There is something deeply wrong with the ethical and legal compass of Britain.

The British people have reversed silly laws in the past; the time is ripe for a review of the Equality laws. It is time for the Big Society to become a reality and to re-strengthen the communitarian institutions such as the Church and other such bodies that can build this. Finally, the absurd ‘human rights’ agenda needs to be re-visited including the Human Rights Act.

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