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•Disappointment as Dr Scott given an official warning by the GMC for sharing his faith with a patient
The GMC has reprimanded Dr Richard Scott for sharing his faith with a patient at the end of a private consultation. There were significant procedural irregularities at the hearing, and we will continue to seek justice for Dr Scott.
In a hearing today, the General Medical Council has decided to pursue the case against Dr Richard Scott, the Christian GP under investigation for sharing his faith with a patient.
This decision from the GMC is despite the fact that the patient who complained has refused to give open evidence to the tribunal for two years. Incredibly, the GMC has now decided to receive evidence from the complainant in secret by telephone, so there will be no chance for Dr Scott to cross examine his accuser in person.
Please pray for Dr Scott, and pray that justice will be done. Please also pray for Dr Scott's health, as he is currently undergoing chemotherapy for bowel cancer.
Full Story http://www.christianconcern.com/our-concerns/religious-freedom/gmc-to-hold-secret-proceedings-against-doctor-for-sharing-his-beliefs
Dr Scott: Case File > http://www.christianconcern.com/cases/dr-richard-scott
The General Medical Council (GMC) is consulting on new guidance which would restrict the freedom of Christian doctors to express their beliefs.
Have your say now! - consultation closes next Wednesday (13th June).
You can respond to these proposals by completing this easy-to-fill-in form on the GMC website (you do NOT have to be a medical professional to do this).
Questions 1-6 under the section entitled "Personal Beliefs and Medical Practice" on pages 26 - 29 are the most important (you can leave the rest out if you want).
Have a look at this helpful advice from Dr Peter Saunders (CEO of the Christian Medical Fellowship) for some good pointers on how to answer the questions.
Street preacher Michael Overd was successfully respresented by the Christian Legal Centre and won his case after being charged with a hate crime for preaching the gospel and mentioning homosexuality.
It is vital that clients like Michael can continue to exercise their freedom of speech so that they can preach the gospel.
Watch Michael on Channel 4's '4ThoughtTV' programme >
Case story > Victory for free speech as Christian Preacher found not guilty
The Law Society has revoked the booking of a major marriage colloquium to be held by Christian Concern and others because it is contrary to its ‘diversity’ policy.
A range of high profile speakers are due to participate including the Chairman of the Bow Group, Ben Harris-Quinney, the Director of ResPublica, Phillip Blond, and media commentator Cristina Odone.
The impartiality of the Law Society is under question after it tweeted: "Gay marriage is the next great civil rights battle" and linked to an article supporting same-sex 'marriage' by David Furnish.
Full Story >http://www.christianconcern.com/our-concerns/social/law-society-bans-a-marriage-conference-because-of-its-%E2%80%98diversity%E2%80%99-policy
Please politely tell Desmond Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, what you think at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us at the Conference
The conference has not been cancelled. It will still take place on Wed 23rd May at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre. Please e-mail email@example.com if you would like to register.
Come to a Parliamentary Briefing
The Bow Group is hosting a special Parliamentary briefing on same-sex 'marriage' later that day from 6.30pm to 8pm. Speakers include David Burrowes MP, Fiona Bruce MP and Andrew Lilico. It would be great for the room to be packed so that MPs are reminded how important this issue is. You don't need to have been to the conference earlier to come. Email us for more information.
In a written submission to the Strasbourg Court, Bishop Nazir Ali has warned that the rights of Christians had been "vanquished" by UK judges and that Christians now "risk their employment" if they choose to wear the cross in public.
He urged the Court to give Article 9 (the right to freedom of conscience) its "full and intended" effect when hearing two landmark cases involving Christian employees who were penalised for wearing the symbol at work.
Bishop Nazir Ali said in the document: "We have reached the stage where Christians in the United Kingdom risk their employment if they wear a cross.
"However, the United Kingdom courts have permitted the wearing of a Sikh bangle, the Islamic headscarf and even a cornrow haircut.
"In case after case in the United Kingdom, the rights of Christians have been vanquished."
He added: "The cross is ubiquitous in Christian devotion from the earliest times.
"The sign of the cross is made by Christians not only during worship but before and after meals, at times of danger and also to give thanks.
"The cross is the most easily recognisable Christian symbol in architecture, church furnishing and the dress of the clergy.
"Lay people are encouraged to wear a cross or a crucifix to affirm their desire to follow in the way of Christ, as he taught us to do.
"They wear it also to declare their faith and to witness to others.
"I am aware that many Christians wear the cross and would be distressed to be required to remove it.
"Further, to hide the cross, in circumstances where the cross is an expression of faith, would be extremely distressing to the adherent as it would amount to asserting that the cross and by implication the Lord Jesus Christ is something to be ashamed of and faith in him something to be hidden."
At a recent Easter homily in Edinburgh, the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, expressed concerns that the right to wear a "simple and discreet" cross was increasingly under threat in the UK, urging Christians to "proudly" wear the symbol of the cross "each and every day of their lives."
"I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalisation of religion, particularly Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters," he said.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has also made direct submissions to the European Court with regards to the two cross cases, arguing that Christians were being increasingly "vilified" and "driven underground" by the tendency of UK courts to apply "equality law to discriminate against Christians."
He said that the failure of Judges to protect the religious freedom of Christians "case after case" demonstrated a "crude" misunderstanding of the faith which has led to believers being treated as "bigots".
Right to wear the cross
The issue of wearing a cross in public has become highly contentious.
Judges in the UK have refused to uphold the religious liberties of two Christians who faced discrimination for wearing the symbol during working hours - cases which are due to be heard before the European Court of Human Rights in September.
This includes Christian Legal Centre client Shirley Chaplin, who was forced from front line nursing after refusing to remove the cross she had worn for thirty years.
The Government has refused to back the two cases in their submissions to the European Court, stating that the right to religious freedom was guaranteed because Christians had the right to resign from their jobs.
Not Ashamed of the Cross
Christian Concern has launched the ‘Not Ashamed of the Cross’ campaign, asking the Prime Minister to align the Government’s submission with his public support of Christian values at a recent Easter event, at which he told a gathering of senior church leaders that the nation needed Christian values and also that he supported a "fight back" against rising secularism.
A Norfolk church has been banned from its weekly outreach, and could be stopped from worshipping at its usual premises, after a complaint that it sold a booklet criticising Islam.
Norwich City Council received only one complaint about the booklet, yet it decided to ban Norwich Reformed Church from holding their weekly bookstall outreach in Norwich for “equality reasons.”
The complaint was made about a booklet entitled ‘Why Not Islam’, written by the church’s pastor, Dr Alan Clifford. The Council claimed that the booklet was “hate motivated”.
Premises under threat
The Council also advised its Eaton Park Community Centre to refrain from taking any further bookings from the church, which has held worship services at the site for over 20 years.
A Council spokesman said:
“Although the police advised that no criminal offence had been committed, we have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to foster good relations between people of all backgrounds and religions.
“By allowing premises owned by the Council to be used by an organisation publishing such material, we would be failing in that duty.”
The Pastor, Dr Clifford, said the church would appeal in the hope that "the council will see sense and see how they are violating our freedom of speech".
"It's an intolerance from the city council acting in a high and mighty manner as we've had it confirmed by Norfolk Police - who've inspected the document - there is no crime involved," he said.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
“It is good that in our nation we know what it is to have freedom of speech but in recent times it is increasinginly under challenge.
"It is worrying that an honest critique of Islam leads to this kind of censorship and we should be concerned about where this might lead. In this case it seems that freedom of speech has been denied. It appears that the mere criticism of other religions can be seen as a hate crime, yet the effect is that valid debate is shut down. We should all be free to debate and criticise without being penalised."
Archbishop Cranmer Blog
Christian Concern: Religious Freedom
standing with Shirley, for the cross
Today is Good Friday – the day marking Jesus' death upon a cross to rescue His people. The cross is an enduring symbol of the good news of that rescue.
And yet today the place of the cross is questioned in our society – part of a wider trend to push the Christian faith out of public and professional life.
Shirley Chaplin was barred from wearing her confirmation cross after nearly thirty years in front line nursing. Now hers is one of four landmark Christian freedom cases going to the European Court of Human Rights.
Before Christmas, David Cameron said that 'we are a Christian Country. And we should not be afraid to say so.' Just this week, he told church leaders that 'the values of the Bible, the values of Christianity are the values that we need.' And recently his spokesman said that 'the PM's personal view is that people should be able to wear crosses.'
And yet the British Government is not supporting Shirley as her case goes to the European Court of Human Rights and has even suggested that the cross is not a generally recognised form of practising the Christian faith.
We need to ask: 'What does the Government really believe about Shirley's cross?'
So today Christian Concern is launching the Not Ashamed of the Cross campaign to urge the Prime Minister and the Government to support Shirley and historic Christian freedoms – to stand with Shirley, and stand for the cross.
We are asking you to contact the Prime Minister and your MP to ensure that the Government changes its official position and brings it into line with the Prime Minister’s public statements.
Please join us in standing with Shirley and protecting Christian freedoms.
•Support Shirley - order postcards for you and those at your church to send to the PM and your MP.http://www.notashamedofthecross.org.uk/support
•Meet Shirley - watch Shirley tell her story.http://www.notashamedofthecross.org.uk/meet
•Read the Daily Mail coverage
•View the website http://www.notashamedofthecross.org.uk/
The 'MegaMosqueNoThanks' campaign has been re-launched to oppose attempts by the extreme Islamic sect, Tablighi Jama'at, to build a 9,500 capacity Mosque near the Olympic site in East London under the banner of a 'cultural centre'.
The Islamic group recently revealed a development that includes an eight-storey high mosque, 45 metre-high minarets, apartments, and retail and business units. Visitors were informed that the formal planning application is to be submitted imminently.
Owing to the nature of the group and the significance of the site, these plans represent a challenge not only for the local community but for the nation as a whole.
Campaign leader, Alan Craig, said: "We intend to inform residents about the separatist, supremacist and sexist nature of Tablighi Jama'at, and the harm this proposed huge new global headquarters mosque at West Ham will do to the local community if it goes ahead. We provide hard evidence for this. They are divisive and actively work against integration and social cohesion. They are also deeply sexist."
More details of the campaign can be found at: www.MegaMosqueNoThanks.com.
Watch Alan Craig Discuss campaign.
The Queen began celebrations to mark her 60-year reign today (15 Feb) by publicly declaring her support for the established Church, which she said was “commonly under-appreciated” despite being "woven into the fabric of this country." Read more please click link.
Three bishops are calling for the Church of England to defend the freedom of Christians to wear a cross in public, and to resist the growing restrictions on religious liberty in the UK.
The bishops are backing a motion at the General Synod criticising the ‘silencing’ of symbols and other visual displays of Christianity in the public sphere; and urging the church to publicly declare that wearing a cross is an integral part of the Christian faith.
The motion also calls on the church to stand against the ‘overzealous’ application of the 2010 Equality Act which has caused legal problems and even job dismissals for a number of Christians.
Cases before European Court
The motion is being supported by over 100 members of the General Synod,and explicitly mentions several cases of discrimination against Christians in the public domain; including that of Shirley Chaplin, an NHS nurse who was told not to wear her cross at work; and Gary McFarlane, who was sacked because he mentioned that he may have a conscientious objection to providing sex therapy to homosexual men after the issue was discussed on a staff training day.
The motion also cites the case of Lillian Ladele, who refused to conduct civil partnerships in her position as an Islington registrar due to a conscientious objection, and was subsequently sacked; and that of Nadia Eweida, who was disciplined for visibly wearing a crucifix pendant by her employer British Airways.
All four cases are due to be heard shortly by the European Court of Human Rights. The Government recently decided not to back the four Christians in their submissions to the European Court, but rather to argue that that the original decisions against them were correct.
Sexual Orientation, Religious Freedom
Two Christian guesthouse owners have today lost their appeal against last year’s ruling which left them with a £3,600 fine for only letting married couples rent double-rooms in their guesthouse.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull were found to have discriminated after refusing a double-room to a non-married same-sex couple in 2008.
The Bulls appealed the decision, claiming that they had always restricted double-rooms to married couples in accordance with their Christian beliefs.
The Judge who gave them permission to appeal explained that his original ruling affected “the human rights of the defendants to manifest their religion and forces them to act in a manner contrary to their deeply and genuinely held beliefs.”
Court of Appeal
However, today the Court of Appeal upheld the original decision and found that same-sex couple Mr Hall and Mr Preddy had been discriminated against under equality laws.
Mr Hall and Mr Preddy were backed in their case by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The EHRC has intervened in several cases relating to the clash between freedom of belief and homosexual rights, and in every such case it has intervened strongly against the freedom to manifest religious belief.
The EHRC caused outrage last year when it argued in Johns v Derby Council that Christians with Christian moral views on sex should not be allowed to foster because they might ‘infect’ children.
The Christian Institute funded Mr and Mrs Bull’s appeal.
Spokesman Simon Calvert said: “Peter and Hazelmary have been penalised for their beliefs about marriage.
“Not everyone will agree with Peter and Hazelmary’s beliefs, but a lot of people will think it is shame that the law doesn’t let them live and work according to their own values under their own roof.
“Something has gone badly wrong with our equality laws when good, decent people like Peter and Hazelmary are penalised but extremist hate preachers are protected.”
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
“This was the wrong decision. A number of judgments have now elevated sexual orientation rights above historic freedom of belief. This was never the intention of Parliament, and has no democratic mandate.
“Bed and breakfast owners have now become another category of people in the UK who will be penalised if they try to serve the public without compromising their religious beliefs.
“We are heading towards a two-tier society where only those who subscribe to secular, humanistic values will be able to operate in many areas in the public sphere.
“With full homosexual marriage now on the horizon, protecting conscience will become more important than ever.”
Christian Concern: Religious Freedom
Philosopher warns of growing threat to religious freedom
January 26th, 2012 |
Leading philosopher Roger Trigg, a Professor at Kellogg College, Oxford, has warned of an increasing tendency in UK courts to prioritise equality above religion, thereby undermining religious freedom.
Professor Trigg, who is the founding President of the British Society for the Philosophy of Religion,stated that: “Religious freedom and the right to manifest religious belief is a central part of every charter of human rights.”
Yet he believes that the courts are now “limiting human freedom itself”.
Professor Trigg is launching a new book, “Equality, Freedom and Religion”, which cites numerous cases where religious freedom has been denied by the courts.
These include the cases of Lillian Ladele, who refused to conduct civil partnerships in her position as an Islington registrar due to a conscientious objection, and was subsequently sacked; and Nadia Eweida, who was disciplined for visibly wearing a crucifix pendant by her employer British Airways.
Balance of Rights
There have been many concerns that, within judicial interpretations of equality law, a hierarchy of rights has developed, with some rights now being seen as more important than others. Recent court decisions have suggested that the freedom to manifest sexual orientation now trumps the freedom to manifest one’s religious beliefs.
This has led to Christians losing their jobs after refusing to compromise their beliefs at work as well as Christians being stopped from being foster parents.
Yet Professor Trigg argues in his new book that the courts need to hold the different rights in balance, and that “reasonable accommodation” should be the aim of every judge.
Using the example of Lillian Ladele, he commented that: “It should have been easy to find a solution here, but the need to respect the right to equality trumped the freedom of religious convictions in this instance.”
Christian Concern has supported many individuals who have been penalised for their faith in the public sphere, including Shirley Chaplin, an NHS nurse who was told not to wear her cross at work; and Gary McFarlane, who was sacked because he mentioned that he may have a conscientious objection to providing sex therapy to homosexual men after the issue was discussed on a staff training day.
The cases of Lillian, Nadia, Gary and Shirley are all currently waiting to be heard by the European Court of Human Rights.Any decision by the European Court on these cases will have huge consequences for the freedom of Christians in the UK and Europe to live by their beliefs in public.
Prime Minister David Cameron recently gave a speech in Oxford,on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, during which he proclaimed that Britain was a Christian nation and should continue to be informed by Christian moral values.
Yet, despite this, the Government has decided not to back the four Christians who have taken their cases to the European Court, but rather to argue that they were right to have been penalised.
And when asked about Eunice and Owen Johns, the Christian foster parents who were stopped from continuing to foster because of their Christian sexual ethics, the Prime Minister backed the decision of Derby Council and claimed that “Christians should be more tolerant”.
The decision not to back the four cases has been heavily criticised by Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, who stated: “I am very disappointed for the individuals concerned who have simply followed their conscience. Such is the result of a liberal establishment that has become deeply illiberal.”
Tory MP Gary Streeter is now leading a cross-party group of parliamentarians who are conducting an inquiry into discrimination against Christians. Christian Concern, along with other organisations, has been giving extensive evidence to the enquiry.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, commented:
“I have witnessed a real restriction of religious freedom in this country in the last few years. Increasing numbers of Christians have been penalised for their faith in the public sphere. Some Christians have been threatened with disciplinary action, suspended, and even sacked for refusing to act against their consciences. This has to stop, and I believe that it will.”
House of Lords vote on civil partnerships in churches
A motion has been tabled to annul regulations that currently allow civil partnerships to be registered in churches.
Baroness O’Cathain has tabled the motion in the House of Lords because she believes that the regulations are unsafe, and that churches are not adequately protected from litigation if they refuse to register civil partnerships.
A debate on the regulations and a vote is scheduled to take place this Thursday.
Please write to a Peer – either one you know, or one whose surname starts with the same letter as yours.
Pick a Peer >
Please ask them to support the motion tabled by Baroness O’Cathain and say, in your own words, that:
•The regulations are not safe, as some churches could be put under legal pressure if they refuse to register civil partnerships.
•Local authorities could refuse permission for churches to host weddings unless they also agree to host civil partnership registrations.
•Two separate legal opinions from Mark Hill QC and Aidan O’Neill QC say that the regulations do not sufficiently protect churches who do not wish to conduct civil partnerships.
•The regulations do not take account of situations where a church does not have the final say in how its building is used.
More details link below
How embarrassing can a prayer be?
When I misheard the news of a lawsuit against Bideford council, I assumed the story was about fatcats cheating the Devon taxpayers. Perhaps they had spent £4,000 on a dinner celebrating their thrift, as happened a few weeks ago in Manchester? Or bought themselves iPads to the tune of £40,000, as Leicester City councillors thought appropriate last year? I was wrong. A Mr Clive Bone was suing his former colleagues for opening council meetings with a prayer. The practice “embarrassed” him as an atheist and contravened Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of belief. Mr Bone and the National Secular Society, which is fighting his corner in the High Court, want to sever the link between religion and public duties.
Picture public life, if the humanists have their way: no Remembrance services held by local authorities; no chaplains in the Armed Forces; and the opening of Parliament, as well as parliamentary sessions, shorn of all reference to a spiritual authority. Why stop there? If Bone wins his battle, the Coronation Oath itself would have to change. We wouldn’t want the monarch “embarrassing” Mr Bone and his fellow atheists, would we?
That is a bleak prospect: public prayers have been central to this country’s celebrations since the days of King Alfred. It is easy to blame Strasbourg for the razing of cherished traditions and the evisceration of Christian culture. However, the trouble lies not with Article 9 but with how courts insist on interpreting it.
Heathrow worker sacked after Muslim complaints
A Christian worker at London’s Heathrow Airport has been dismissed following un-substantiated complaints from muslim colleagues that she said something offensive about Islam.
Nohad Halawi, who has worked at Terminal 3 for 13 years, believes that offence was taken after a colleague misheard something she said.
Help Nohad by donating to her case http://www.christianconcern.com/donate
Mrs Halawi is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre.
The Department for Education is currently conducting a review into PSHE education, which includes sex and relationships education. You can read our consultation response below. Please add your voice by either responding to the consultation in your own words or writing to endorse our response.
The deadline is 30 November.
Christian Concern Consultation Response >
Department for Education’s consultation > (questions 3, 5 and 6 are the most important)
Sexual Orientation, Religious Freedom
A court has heard how a Christian couple should be recognised as having the same human rights as the two men to whom they were ordered to pay compensation to earlier this year.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull, owners of the Chymorvah B&B in Cornwall, were ordered to pay £3,600 in compensation to Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy after they were turned down for a double room in the Bull’s B&B. The Bulls operated a policy, based on their Christian beliefs, whereby they only granted shared rooms to married couples.
Mr and Mrs Bull have appealed against the original decision and their case has been heard in the Court of Appeal this week.
Concern over the easy availability of vile images which demean women and corrupt the young has intensified following the disclosure that Jo Yeates’s killer Vincent Tabak was obsessed with websites showing sexual violence, bondage and strangulation.
Read more here:
Ann Widdecombe is right: Christianity in Britain today is under severe persecution
By Reverend Peter Mullen
Last updated at 2:01 PM on 21st October 2011
Comments (36) Add to My Stories Share I am very much looking forward to tomorrow’s speech by Ann Widdecombe in which she will criticise our government for its double standards in withdrawing aid from countries which persecute homosexuals while at the same time turning a blind eye to those realms around the world which persecute Christians.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2051841/Ann-Widdecombe-right-Christianity-Britain-today-severe-persecution.html
Official watchdog, the ‘Care Quality Commission’, has found that hospitals are making use of ‘do not resuscitate’ orders outside of medical guidelines, and that these potentially-lethal notices are being placed on the files of patients simply because they are old and frail.
These orders are routinely being applied without the knowledge of either the patient or their relatives, effectively introducing backdoor euthanasia into the NHS.
Read full story here >http://www.christianconcern.com/our-concerns/end-of-life/backdoor-euthanasia-in-the-nhs
Sex Education in Primary Schools
Sex education campaigners, and some backbench Peers, want to make sex education compulsory in primary schools by forcing a vote at the Report Stage of the Education Bill on Monday 24 October.
At present primary schools are not forced to teach sex education. Yet if it becomes part of the national curriculum then highly explicit resources are likely to be widely used for children as young as five.
Please write to a Peer and ask them to (in your own words):
•Oppose any amendments which force sex education onto primary schools.
•Protect children from graphic material in the classroom.
•Protect the right of head teachers and governors to decide what is best for children at their schools.
You can pick a Peer to write to here >
The coalition, which does not support this measure, does not have an overall majority in the Lords and could lose the vote, so please help lobby on this issue if you can.
A guide with further details and examples of the graphic teaching materials used has been produced by the Christian Institute and can be found here.
Victory for CLC and NHS employee
An employee of the NHS who did not want to work on Sundays has had his wishes respected. The employee, who has worked with the NHS Trust for 10 years, was initially told that he would be able to opt-out of the rota on Sundays. Yet despite submitting an opt-out application, the employee’s request was disregarded.
Following intervention by the Christian Legal Centre, the employee sent a letter to the NHS Trust, outlining the legal position and explaining that he should not be compelled to work on a Sunday. The NHS Trust has now relented, and the employee will not have to work on Sundays.
keep our doors open
here to help> http://www.christianconcern.com/donate
Andrea Williams said: “Employers should respect Christian employees who do not wish to work on a Sunday, as in most situations arrangements can be made to accommodate this. This situation is an encouraging example of how Christians can ensure that their faith is respected in the workplace.”
Four cases relating to Christian freedoms are to be heard shortly by the European Court of Human Rights. These include two of our clients: Shirley Chaplin, the nurse who was asked to remove the cross she had worn since her confirmation; and Gary McFarlane, the counsellor who had a possible conscientious objection to providing sex therapy to homosexual couples
(read more here).
Thank you so much to all of you who sent the Prime Minister postcards as part of our campaign. The response has been incredible and we have sent out 150,000 postcards.
Please pray that the Government would support freedom of conscience, and that the European Court would come to the correct judgment. Our prayers could change the course of this nation’s history.