Christian doctor sues government over transgender pronoun dismissal

9 July 2019

A Christian doctor with 26 years in the NHS is challenging the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions after he was sacked for refusing to use ‘transgender pronouns’.

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

Dr Mackereth said that using ‘transgender pronouns’ went against his conscience as a doctor and Bible-believing Christian. Previously speaking to The Telegraph in 2018, he said: “I believe gender is defined by biology and genetics. And that as a Christian the Bible teaches us that God made humans male or female.”

In response, the DWP declared that failing to accommodate clients’ preferences would amount to “harassment” under the Equality Act 2010 and dismissed Dr Mackereth from is role as Health and Disability Assessor.

Breached right to thought, conscience and religion

However, Dr Mackereth’s lawyers at the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) say that the DWP discriminated against him 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.”

It is therefore the DWP that was in breach of the Equality Act, say Dr Mackereth’s lawyers, for compelling staff to use ‘transgender pronouns’ against their freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

“My conscience is captive to the Word of God”

With 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.

Yet. After only a few days into the new role, 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 biological 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 wrote twice to Dr Mackereth asking 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 commented on his case: “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.”

“The 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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