Christian care home loses funding over ‘gay rights’
Pilgrim Homes, a Christian charity that has been caring for older Christians for more than 200 years has lost thousands of pounds of funding because of its religious beliefs on homosexuality. Brighton & Hove City Council wanted the home in Brighton to ask its elderly Christian residents about their sexual orientation every three months. The council also wanted the home to use images of homosexuals in its promotional literature and show a Stonewall presentation on ‘gay rights’ to staff.
Among the residents at the Brighton home are a number of elderly Christians aged over 80, including former missionaries and a retired church minister. 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. They pointed out that people of this age consider sexual matters to be a private issue and regard questioning of this kind as hostile and intrusive. But council officials accused the home of “institutionalised homophobia” and pulled £13,000 of funding which was being used to provide warden services in sheltered housing.
The Pilgrim Homes charity, which runs the home and others like it, has spent months seeking to resolve the matter with the local authority. But having reached an impasse it has told the council of its intention to take legal action for religious discrimination.
The case is being backed financially by The Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund.
Phil Wainwright, director of human resources for Pilgrim Homes, said he was told by the council that the home must ask residents if they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual or ‘unsure’, even if they objected. Mr Wainwright said: “There was a strong feeling among people in the home that the questions were inappropriate and intrusive. They felt they had come to Pilgrim Homes because of its Christian ethos and were upset they were not protected from such intrusions.”
The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said: “Brighton Council is displaying a very prejudiced and discriminatory attitude to the religious beliefs held by the elderly residents of the home run by Pilgrim Homes. After a lifetime of Christian service, these elderly men and women deserve to live in a restful environment which supports and nurtures their Christian faith. This case is the latest in a series of troubling incidents where the rights of Christians are seemingly being ignored in favour of ‘gay rights’.”