Friday, May 7, 2010

Bishops criticise ‘secular’ judgment

From The Church Times-

A JUDGMENT by an Appeal Court judge was criticised by a bishop this week as “incomprehensible”.

The judge, Lord Justice Laws, refused Gary McFarlane’s appeal against his dismissal for declining to give sexual counselling to same-sex couples (see legal report). In his judgment, Lord Laws dismisses a witness statement by Lord Carey, in which the former Archbishop of Canterbury had written of “a clear animus to Christian beliefs” among the judiciary.

Lord Laws states: “The promulgation of law for the protection of a position held purely on religious grounds cannot . . . be justified. It is irrational, as preferring the sub jective over the objective. But it is also divisive, capricious, and arbitrary.”

Lord Carey had asked for a special court to hear religious cases. Lord Laws described the idea as “deeply inimical to the public interest”.

Lord Carey said after the judgment that it was “deeply worrying. . . The judgment heralds a secular state rather than a neutral one. And while with one hand the ruling seeks to protect the rights of religious believers to hold and express their faith, with the other it takes away those same rights.”

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, a former Bishop of Rochester, said that the judgment “seems infected with the post modern contagion of individualism”. He spoke also about Lord Laws’s “enthusiasm for a secular Britain”.

The Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Revd Wallace Benn, said in an interview with Christianity Today: “It seems to me that Lord Laws, for reasons of his own and his own agenda, made a ruling that is rationally incomprehensible and actually very serious for the future of the Christian faith.”

More here-

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