Brighton settles with Christian care home
A Brighton care home for elderly Christians has won back thousands of pounds of funding withdrawn by the local council because of its religious beliefs on homosexuality. Pilgrim Homes, the 200-year-old Christian charity that runs the home and nine others, was taking legal action against the council for religious discrimination.
But now Brighton Council has backed down and promised to restore the £13,000 funding, used to support a warden, which it pulled after accusing the care home of “institutionalised homophobia”.
The case was backed by The Christian Institute’s legal defence fund.
The Council wanted the care home to ask its elderly Christian residents about their sexual orientation every three months, use images of homosexuals in its promotional literature and show a Stonewall presentation on ‘gay rights’ to staff.
Managers at the care home explained that to comply with the demands would unduly distress the elderly residents and undermine the home’s Christian ethos. Residents at the Brighton home are made up of Christians aged over 80, including former missionaries and a retired church minister.
The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said: “Elderly Christians shouldn’t be penalised just because of their religious beliefs. Christians pay their taxes too and they should have equal access to public grants without being required to drop their Christian ethos. I hope other councils take note.”
He added: “There have been a number of recent cases where Christians have been treated less favourably than others. Nurses, grandparents, firemen, registrars, adoption agencies, care homes are all finding themselves in the firing line for nothing more than hold the same harmless beliefs that Christians have had for 2,000 years. But Christians are beginning to find their voice and discovering that a lot of people – Christian or otherwise – are agreeing with them.”
Tom Ellis of Aughton Ainsworth, solicitors for Pilgrim Homes, said the council had shown “a total disregard and lack of respect for orthodox Christian beliefs and values” when it decided to cut the funding. He said: “Pilgrim Homes has a right to provide its services within the context of its doctrinal belief without interference from the council.”