The Christian Institute

News Release

Christian Institute supports Destiny Church’s action against Edinburgh Council

The charity behind landmark legal cases including the Ashers ‘gay cake’ ruling and the scrapping of Scotland’s notorious Named Person scheme has publicly expressed its support for a church’s legal action against City of Edinburgh Council.

The Council cancelled a three-day conference being held by Destiny Church in the city’s Usher Hall this coming June. The reason given was because of the views of one of the speakers, US preacher Larry Stockstill. He has said that homosexual behaviour is “not accepted by God”. The church is challenging the council’s decision in the courts.

UK charity The Christian Institute told supporters that the church has “a strong case which they should win”.

In an email sent yesterday, the Institute’s Deputy Director for Communications, Ciarán Kelly, wrote: “Our freedoms are currently being curtailed. Churches are unable to meet. Public venues cannot be hired for Christian events. This is for very good reasons and we all accept that. Everyone else is affected too – such things are necessary in times of national emergency.

“But when ordinary life resumes we don’t want Christians to still be barred from hiring public venues. That’s what is at stake in Edinburgh.”

Mr Kelly added: “This is a clear case of unlawful religious discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. It is a clear denial of free speech under the European Convention on Human Rights.”

With the ban coming just a matter of days after the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) had been banned from public venues around the UK on similar grounds, he suggested the action taken against the BGEA had “emboldened” the Edinburgh Council.

He warned: “If Destiny Church or the BGEA can be banned from hiring public venues today, the same could be true for other Christian groups tomorrow. We do not want that to happen.”

Making supporters aware that the Institute had had some involvement with the legal teams of both groups, he explained, “We are all seeking to resist the marginalisation of Christians in the UK.”


Notes for editors:

The Christian Institute is a non-denominational registered charity which seeks to promote the Christian faith in the UK.

It was founded in 1991 by Christian church leaders and professionals and it currently campaigns on a range of issues including marriage and the family, child protection, pro-life concerns, drugs, religious liberty and education, as well as Christianity and the constitution.

In October 2018, the UK Supreme Court found in favour (5-0) of Ashers Baking Company in a case case brought by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. The case followed a decision in May 2014 by Ashers to decline an order placed at its Belfast store by a gay rights activist asking for a £36.50 cake featuring the Sesame Street puppets, Bert and Ernie, with the campaign slogan, ‘Support Gay Marriage’.

In July 2016 the UK Supreme Court ruled against the Scottish Government’s Named Person scheme which sought to appoint a state official for every child in Scotland to monitor their “happiness”. The case was spearheaded by The Christian Institute.

For media enquiries, please contact Alistair Thompson on 07970 162225, or Ciarán Kelly on 07736 957579.