Updates on Cases

Ashers Bakery

On 10th October 2018 the UK Supreme Court allowed an appeal by Ashers bakery in the 'gay cake' case. In the words of the Court's press release: nothing in discrimination law 'imposes civil liability on the appellants for the refusal to express a political opinion contrary to their religious beliefs.'  As I said my original comment on the case, the bakers were not discriminating against a customer because of sexual orientation. They thought they had a right not to provide their services to a political cause with which they disagreed.  The Supreme Court finding does not re-legalise any form of discrimination. It is a victory for political freedom. 

Felix Ngole

Felix Ngole was working as a teacher when he received a prophecy, through his wife, that he would be used by God to change government policy in the UK. Later he entered the two-year university Master’s course that leads to qualification as a social worker. Much of this course, especially in the second year, consists of supervised practice. Students understand that “MA Social Work is a programme of professional training and that you are expected to behave in a professional manner in the University, on placement and in your personal life (including use of social media),” ensuring that “behaviour does not damage public confidence” in social work and that social media posts are not offensive.

At the start of his second year, Mr Ngole joined in a discussion about same-sex marriage on the Facebook page of a secular US broadcaster. In a series of entries, he quoted the familiar passage from Leviticus concerning same-sex relations, warned that such relations were abominable to God, and added that the US constitution had been “hi-jacked by the devil.” The university investigated his “fitness to practice” - and found no readiness from Mr Ngole to consider whether his social media postings were appropriate for a professional social worker, and no indication that he might not do it again. He was removed from the course, though he was offered a chance to continue on a different course without the professional qualification. At this point Christian Concern “miraculously” became involved and started action leading to judicial review of the fairness of the decision.

The first court reviewing the case found for Sheffield University. However this was reversed on appeal. The appeal court found that "the University's disciplinary proceedings were flawed" and "got off on the wrong track" after "both sides adopted extreme and polarised positions from the outset." The university failed to make it clear that the problem lay in the language used and its potential to be misunderstood, to give guidance on how to give public expression to views, or to make it clear that holding such views was not a barrier to progressing in social work. Felix Ngole's record showed that, as he insisted was the case, he did not discriminate against clients because of their sexuality. The university became entrenched in a hostile position and missed the opportunity offered to find compromise. The court ordered the university to re-run the Fitness to Practice hearing with different personnel.

Sources:

Court of Appeal (civil division) approved judgment in case no CI/2017/3073 between The Queen (on the application of Ngole) and University of Sheffield, heard 12-13 March 2019

Felix Ngole: My court case proves Christian beliefs are being censored by our government: Premier Christianity, 27th October 2017

'Anti-transgenderism'

Dr Mackereth left his training to become an assessor with the Dept of Work and Pensions after learning that he had to use a client's self-assigned gender if this differed from birth gender. He claimed to have been dismissed, and that this was due to his belief, based on the book of Genesis, that no change of gender is possible. Maya Forstater also believes no change of gender is possible, basing this on scientific materialism. She says this is why a contract as a business consultant was terminated. Courts in 2019 found that such denial of 'transgenderism' is a belief 'not worthy of respect in a democratic society.' Did this really mean, as claimed by some Christian commentators, that Christianity is no longer protected by the Equality Act or that a judge is like Monty Python? What are the real issues here? Click here for more.

A customer asked the Ashers Bakery to put icing on a calke with a message calling people to 'support gay marriage.' Did this violate their freedom not to bacl a political cause?

The cake they wouldn't bake

Felix Ngole Felix Ngole

© James Paul Lusk 2020. Contact: email bookATthejcan.org or telephone (44)(0)7977517334.