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Government defeated in 3 votes over the ability of churches to deny jobs to gay people

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  1. John Sentamu: “But, if religious freedom means anything it must mean that those are matters for the churches and other religious organisations to determine for themselves in accordance with their own convictions.”

    What about the religions which support gay marriage? On the basis of his House of Lords speech, Sentamu should support any legislation which would allow religions to obey their consciences.

  2. Right people. I think it is time for those of us in the right positions to deny employment to christians based on the belief that unbalanced, mentally ill people (ie, those who believe in invisible fairies in the sky and the like) do not fit in our ethos of equality, fairness and tolerance.

  3. Church of England?…gays not welcome!

    At least only if you voluntarily castrate yourself and promise to be celibate(not for you the joys of a loving relationship!)then you might be just acceptable as a repentant sinner and third class member of the communion.

    The weakness of Rowan Williams and the African fundamentalism of Sentamu entrenches US Evangelical inspired homophobia and discrmination in the Church of England.

  4. The Church of England – a church that doesn’t reach out – it casts out.

  5. When is Britian going to get rid of the House of Lords and have an upper house elected by proportional representation by the people!

  6. Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, said “If religious freedom means anything it must mean that [matters of sexual ethics] are for the churches and other religious organisations to determine for themselves in accordance with their own convictions” and asked “Where are the examples of actual abuses that have caused difficulties?”

    Here’s your answer, John Sentamu:

    Every freedom has its limitations. Just as religious freedom no longer extends the right to execute those the Church considers heretics (in this country), it is right that it should no longer remain unique in being allowed to retain bigotry and discrimination.

    As for the actual abuses, they are demonstrated most clearly where the law (even intended law) still gives unreasonable dispensation for discrimination for which every other organisation would be punished: discrimination against female clergy, discrimination against homosexual clergy.

    Your Church, John Sentamu, and within it particularly those from your own continent, would rather tear itself into pieces than follow the leadership of the one you call “God the son”, who accepted women and everyone who the Church rejected.

    And you, John Sentamu, would be the wiser if you took on board the words of your former fellow African Archbishop, Desmond Tutu, who said your homophobia is a crime against humanity which is every bit as unjust as apartheid (and who would know better than he!).

    Your public exhibitions of piety, John Sentamu, sitting in a tent in your cathedral fasting and all, they are utterly meaningless when you’re just as discriminatory as your fellow Ugandans. “You’re like a whitewashed tomb, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside is full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. On the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matt 23:27-28

    For readers’ information, John Sentamu, a Ugandan by birth, should have great interest and possibly influence over the Ugandan bill to murder gay people. But the best condemnation he ever came up with was this: “I’m opposed to the death sentence. I’m also not happy when you describe people in the kind of language you find in this private member’s bill.” He has sad that gay people are “valued by God” while personifying discrimination in what he would call the work of God.

  7. I agree wholeheartedly. The next time a church denies a gay person employment, we should deny a Christian employment. We won’t of course, because most of us won’t lower ourselves to the level of the likes of those people. But it’s a fair sentiment. And it may very well happen. This whole matter will be decided in future lawsuits anyhow. Right now though, the Christians are proving themselves to be their own worst enemies once again.

  8. “Where are the examples of actual abuses that have caused difficulties? Where are the court rulings that have shown that the law is defective? If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”

    I remember a lifelong member of the Salvation Army being fired from his administrative post, when he was discovered to be gay. And I think it was purely because of his orientation.

    If they want special rights, the church folk should be clear about when they think it’s ok to discriminate: sheer orientation; any gay sexual activity; gay sexual activity outside a monogamous relationship or CP. But then I thought all the churches here had said they were against discrimination against gay people. Even the Pope said that. So why do they want to be free to discriminate regarding administrative employment?

  9. I bet bloody widdercombe is having an orgasm right now. Bloody religions

  10. As usual, the Christian Institute and Christian Concern for our Nation are overjoyed at this victory, with some in the house of Lords praising the Christian Institute for their professional research (those junk pamphlets sayign gays shouldn’t adopt, linking paedophilia to homosexuality and calling for reintroducing the ban on gays in the armed forces etc)

  11. On one hand, what gay person WANTS to work at a place full of people who are gonna be so snippy about who they are? Me personally as a gay guy, thats the FIRST place I would avoid if I was looking for work.

    That being said, its clear that religious influence in government is still a nasty world-wide issue, one group of people of such a specific “interest” shouldn’t have the power to say what people can and cant have.

  12. Brian Burton 26 Jan 2010, 7:52am

    Dan, that’s just the problen un the UK. That specific interest group in the Lords are noy elected by the people and are allowed to dictate an maintain a devisive interest as employment discrimination in Churches.

  13. Sadly not at all surprised at this, although only 3 votes in it, I bet that margin would have been much larger just a few years ago.

    Many of these church organisations are up in arms about their falling membership numbers, well for goodness sake! It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a main reason why many people stay away from them here in the UK is because we’re more enlightened than to buy into bigotry on the basis that a preacher just says its wrong, especially when we can all read the bible perfectly well for ourselves and don’t need to go on anyone elses’ twisted view of it. Not that I’m religious anyway, I was raised in the church as a child & teenager and was first-hand what a load of crap it was. I prefer to think for myself thank you very much.

  14. If the government is going to allow gay employment exemptions, then the rest of society should have equal protection for the employment of Christians.

  15. This should be our battle cry

  16. Great – they’ve done it again. Yet again, it’s assumed that the politically dominant church speaks for all Christians, and that its leaders accurately represent the wishes of all its congregants. The Episcopal Church in the US is already splitting over this issue, and I can see it happening here, because many Anglicans strongly believe that orientation, gender, and gender identity are irrelevant to the suitability of a person for the priesthood, never mind any other job. And there are other Christian groups that affirm queer identities – the Quakers did so in the late 50s, and confirmed this in the 1963 edition of Quaker Faith & Practice (in which same-sex relationships were confirmed as equal to any others), and in last year’s Britain Yearly Meeting decision which would put Quakers in potential direct conflict with the law by registering same-sex unions in precisely the same way as male-female unions.

    So, before denying goods and services to anyone of any faith or none, check first whether or not they’re against equality first.

  17. We will just deny employment right to those of the Christian persuasion.

    No Christians job is safe, in secular society now Anon. But don’t get at us for reacting to the provocation orchestrated by the states church.

    A electrical contractor I use will be informed today he will no longer considered for work by myself because of his religious beliefs.


  18. Easy answer-we should launch a campaign to ensure that the chursch stops getting public money and grants ( our tax payers money)-if they want to exclude us then don’t take our money and they should exist on Christain donations. No more money for buildings, schools etc

  19. Don’t target all Christians in employment – that would probably break some Equality law. But it should be legal to refuse to employ homophobes. When advertising for staff employers could ask for a positive attitude towards diversity including people of different genders and sexual orientations. That should scare the homophobes and fundies away, but still attract Quakers and other gayfriendly vaguely Christian faith followers.

  20. Typical House of Lords decision. Excellent comment, Tsuchan #6. But didn’t someone say the EU had informed the UK that allowing religions to discriminate in this way was wrong (legally wrong, I mean)? So won’t the UK be forced to comply fully with equality legislation in the end?

  21. OK. From now on I am adding a tickbox to any job applications asking if people have religious beliefs. If they tick yes I can thin out the number of candidates easily and effectively. Its not bigotry it’s just that I don’t want to employ people who conflict with my personal beliefs.
    What I don’t get is this. Can the gay people that apply for the job actually do their job well? Yes or no? Do they perform fellatio on the altar whilst the priest is trying to preach his sermon? Do any of the gay men turn up to work in drag?
    When we think through the above I think the only way of viewing this issue is that the Christians are actually using discrimination to persecute and opress others. Do they refuse jobs to people who have been divorced? live ‘in sin’? or wear mixed fabrics and eat shellfish?

  22. What do you expect from Sentamu, he’s Ugandan!

  23. Tim Hopkins 26 Jan 2010, 11:58am

    The Tories are claiming the ‘credit’ for this defeat for greater equality last night, as you can see from their blog.

  24. davevauxhall 26 Jan 2010, 12:01pm

    It made me sick to watch those unelected old bishops voting for the self interest of their church and demanding the right to treat others badly and control the lives of their workers. They would see us back to a feudal system. Sentamus speech claiming there was no examples of discrimination was absoloutely disgusting, these people have no honesty or integrity. It is a ridiculous state when 26 bishops from the C of E are given such an automatic and priveleged position and it is gay people who constantly come out of it worse of as a result. The argument that bishops represent all religion is a joke as well when they voted against the religious wishes of groups like the quakers to hold civil partnerships in their religious premises.

  25. Mumbo Jumbo 26 Jan 2010, 12:09pm

    It’s not just the church and their Bishops who sit in the House of Lords that are at issue here.

    What is missing in this article is the fact that Baroness Warsi, the Conservative frontbench spokesperson on this issue, also spoke out during the debate and then led the massed ranks of Conservatives peers alongside the bishops and Baroness O’Cathain into the lobby to vote against equality.

    You will also remember that her 2005 campaign leaflets, Baronesss Warsi claimed that the lowering of the age of consent from 18 to 16 was “allowing schoolchildren to be propositioned for homosexual relationships” and that homosexuality was being peddled to children as young as seven in schools.

    In the event of a Conservative victory she will be in charge of the equality portfolio. They also have no plans to remove the bishops from our legislature.

  26. Good point, since “we are all sinners”, how do they justify discriminating against one particular group of “sinners” who do no harm?

    The people that will suffer most from this discrimination are those that actually belong to those religions, put in years of (social) service and work for their organisations, but happen to be gay, or eventually realise that they are gay . Discrimination against them by their organisations is totally irrational.

    It’s not an us and them situation, it’s about fairness.

  27. Mumbo Jumbo 26 Jan 2010, 12:47pm

    Comment 26 davevauxhall

    I agreee with you on the bishops but, as far as I can make out, there were only seven bishops in attendance voting last night. Though even one of these idiots being eligable to vote in our legislature is bad enough (and should be stopped), it was the Conservatives who provided the overwhelming majority of votes against equality.

    In fact, it looks as though the only Conservative to vote with the government was Lord Lamont. Apart from him, every last one of them, including the front benchers, was against.

  28. John(Derbyshire) 26 Jan 2010, 12:48pm

    Can anybody provide a breakdown of the vote-as far as political affiliations are concerned? How many Conservatives voted for the emendments? Perhaps Justin Hinchcliffe or Mary could enlighten us on this issue?

  29. “In the event of a Conservative victory she will be in charge of the equality portfolio.”

    Mumbo Jumbo,you’re joking – please say you are. Is that definite? I find that terrifying.

    Tim Hopkins – thanks for the link. Reading that now.

  30. Remarkable as it may seem, there are still some religious folk who believe left-handedness is evil (“Satan uses his left hand” – see video @ hxxp:// ) and that left handedness should be cured.

    Whether this would ever translate into employment discrimination I don’t know. But it comes down to the same issue: should there be an absolute religious right to discriminate on whatever grounds, no matter how unfair or unreasonable, and if it is a question of degree, where do you draw the line? Or does society have an interest in promoting fairness and equality of opportunity for all, including those who work in secular jobs within religious-backed organisations?

  31. Christian beliefs are in direct conflict with my companies diversity and equality policy. Therefore for the safety of my employees and customers I will have refrain from employing Christians forthwith.

    I urge all businesses to do the same.

  32. Another thing for the archbishop to consider – what about the the total lack of employment rights for teachers in faith schools? I guess attempts to remedy this were also defeated by the neo-con religious right. One thing though, if the moves were defeated by the 8 bishops who voted against them, claiming to represent all Christians/religions, presumably there were 18 bishops (including Canterbury) who for one reason or another, didn’t vote against them, and did not consider them a threat to religious freedom.

  33. Mumbo Jumbo 26 Jan 2010, 2:29pm

    Comment #29 by Iris

    As Shadow minister for Community Cohesion and Social Action, Baroness Warsi would, in the event of Conservative victory, indeed become the cabinet minister with responsibility for equality:

    Comment # by John(Derbyshire)

    Yesterday, after Sister Mary claimed that Anne Widdecombe was not typical of the “changed” Conservative party, I offerd an invitation to come back onto this site today to post the vote broken down by party.

    For some reason, we are still waiting.

    The fact is that there are only 26 bishops in the Lords and not all of them were there to vote last night.

    It was the Conservative peer Baroness O’Cathain and Conservative front bencher Baroness Wasi who led overwhelming numbers of Conservative peers into the lobby alongside a handful bishops and rebels from the other parties to vote against equality.

  34. I think short term this is a victory for them long term it will do much damage, to those in the church and those in the conservative party. No more of the tories we are for gay eqauilty now. We have all witnessed that a leopard never changes its spots. IN my eyes and right to openly discriminate is never a victory. It wont be in ours eyes or any god. These people have won a right to hate, to cast out and to judge. where in the victory is that?

  35. Robert, ex pat Brit 26 Jan 2010, 3:06pm

    davevauxhall, I totally concur with you. I bet the majority if not all of those 26 bigot bishops vote tory too. The only way to get full equality is to get rid of that anachronistic, tory stacked, unelected, undemocratic bunch of parasites once and for all and give the people purer democracy truly representative of the people.

    If Cameron and his party have changed, why isn’t he supporting full civil marriage quality for gays and civil partnerships for straights who choose not to marry? The fact of the matter is, he won’t because he’s in lock-step with the House of Lords that is stacked with his party members. The tories are not much different than labour. So much for the alledged “change” among the tories.

  36. Ah, my friends…this is just a taste of what is to come once a Tory government is elected!! Another supreme example of the tory Lords marching thru their homophobic agenda, and shows just how divisive and unrepresentive the church has become. An opt out means we can’t handle the laws of the day! THE CHURCH has become the modern day outcast of common law! because it cannot handle equality issues such as this! The Election is coming! Don’t let the torys in again…we will all pay the price as will future gay generations! KEEP THE TORYS OUT!

  37. It is sad, really that what was once a grand organisation – the church – has turned its back on the fundamental principles of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus Christ – therefore it no longer has any impotance or function in modern society.

  38. @ Robert, ex pat Brit

    Did not Oliver Cromwell say a similar thing as you to the Lords?

    Its strange how little the upper house has changed since 1651!

  39. Mumbo Jumbo #33 – thank you for providing that information, as unsettling as it is.

    I hope the EU overturn this travesty of justice very soon. You can’t allow one group to be exempt from the law.

  40. The Church of England really does need a new reformation! Split from the African Communion who are seemingly all totally homophobic, make peace with the Episcopalians, accept if you have women priests you are going to get women bishops/Archbishops and if you have gay men in the church they might one day end up as Archbishops! If only 36% of the UK think being gay is wrong, then the church is out of touch! (wot a surprise!)

  41. Robert, ex pat Brit 26 Jan 2010, 6:15pm

    Abi1975, yes, you’re right about that! NOTHING has changed.

  42. Gareth Lloyd 26 Jan 2010, 6:43pm

    Well actions speak louder than words…….

  43. mmm doesnt surprise me the Lords have always been bastions of prejudice. let me see if Practising Christians are allowed to discriminate can i ….please! i am an atheist and employ 200 people. if i find out any of them are practising christians i might have to terminate their contracts as this is in conflict with my morals/view of the world.only fair isnt it!

  44. Mihangel apYrs 26 Jan 2010, 7:55pm

    the Tories marched resolutely into the YES lobby.

    However, had the bishops not been there, or if there had been a better Labour support, or if some LibDems hadn’t chosen to suppport illiberality, then the bill would have falled

    This is a reason to get rid of the Lords, they are totally unaccountable

  45. Bishops may have sealed their fate with Equality Bill vote.

    There are very few votes in the House of Lords where the bishops make the difference between winning and losing.

    After a concerted campaign by bishops and some other Christian groups, the amendment was carried by just 5 votes – 177 to 172. Eight bishops voted for the amendment. Several of their number were also instrumental in bringing it forward in the first place.

    See the full story here:

  46. BrazilBoysBlog 26 Jan 2010, 10:33pm

    I find it totally wrong that these unelected people can legislate for us all, without being at all accountable.

    I agree that this is an indication of how the tories will be after the election and it does just show the farcical reality of the ´new´ tories.

    Even if the tory party in the commons were to be ´progressive´, clearly their prehistoric colleagues in the lords would simply vote them down.

    I am thankful that the EU will be a much better guardian of our civil liberties than our own ´second chamber´, the unelected and tory dominated lords.

  47. Stan James 27 Jan 2010, 7:20am

    “But, if religious freedom means anything it must mean that those are matters for the churches and other religious organisations to determine for themselves in accordance with their own convictions.”

    Hitler had his convictions also. Which included hatred of the Jews, which of course came from the monstrosity siting in rome. Now headed by a german pope He leveraged that hatred to gain election, and the result was WWII and the HOlocasut and 50 million died.

    So did the Catholic church when it joined with corrupt kings and emperors, and from 900-1500 murdered as many as 50 million Muslims in the crusades.

    If there was a god, the vatican would be nothing but a smoking hole, where the volcanic fires underneath would come up bullseye, and put the torch to their lies and filth. Which include their new hatred – the gays.

    Not one penny for them.

  48. Agreed the Church Of Rome has committed atrocities throughout its history; sad considering the early Christians were non violent and Jesus Himself only seems to have had one hissy fit in his life (the money lenders in the Temple incident)Its to the eternal shame of the RC church that it still promotes hatred when it claims to promote love and peace! The C of E just can’t make up its mind on the Arthur or Martha question can it and just keeps getting its ecclesiastical knickers in a twist. As to evil old Popes, instead of standing up for justice during WW2 the Pope simply sat back. He should have taken the total moral ground and excommunicated all Germans who took part in the Holocaust including AH himself and if he had been murdered for it then he would now be a saint and quite right! You don’t get to be a saint by preaching hatred! (Benny Ratzinger take note!)

  49. I wonder what Stonewall, or any of us, could have done to prevent this. I get the impression, and it could be a wrong one, that Stonewall has become lazy and complacent. While the other team were busy “astroturfing” the Lords with co-ordinated writing campaigns, what was being done to get our views across to the Lords? Maybe they did a lot but it didn’t get publicity, but I don’t remember any great rallying cries in Pink News or elsewhere.

    Lets get our act together so this doesn’t happen again.

  50. Robert, ex pat Brit 27 Jan 2010, 4:20pm

    Brazilboysblog….the tory party progressive? Not even Labour is. If it were, Cameron would be routing for same-sex marriage to prove his full support for FULL equality and allowing hetero couples to form civil partnerships for starters. Expect NOTHING like that, they’re as bad as Labour.

  51. BrazilBoysBlog 27 Jan 2010, 9:33pm

    @59, You obviously missed my quote marks around the words progressive, new and tories. Not my views AT ALL, but judging by some of the pro-tory comments on here, it seems as if some gay people think they are offering keys to the promised land under Cameron.. I don´t think so!

  52. BrazilBoysBlog 27 Jan 2010, 9:34pm

    Sorry, meant @50 :-)

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