The Christian Institute

News Release

Euro directive set to damage religious liberties

A new EU anti-discrimination Directive is set to damage religious liberties according to The Christian Institute. The Institute has obtained legal advice from John Bowers QC and Mark L R Mullins which argues that church schools and religious organisations will have to open up their staff posts to atheists and practising homosexuals.

The UK Government has already indicated its approval of the draft directive and is expected to endorse the final version this summer.

Speaking today, Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said:

“The Directive will have wide ranging implications for religious bodies. Church schools will be forced to employ atheists or practising homosexuals as teachers. Only the posts of religious education teachers are likely to be reserved for Christians.

Whilst Churches will be allowed to require ministers to hold to the teachings of the Church, the same will not be true of all the other posts such as Vicar’s secretaries or vergers. Churches will be forced to employ staff who reject their basic beliefs.

Christian organisations who carry out social work such as the Salvation Army or the Shaftesbury Society will be forced to employ unbelieving staff. Hospices will be forced to employ doctors who believe in euthanasia.

This is a major attack on religious liberties and the freedom of association. The only people who will gain anything by this directive are litigious minorities.

We want the UK Government to change its mind and stop supporting this ridiculous directive which will profoundly damage religious liberties. Our legal advice is that even the Labour Party will have to end its ‘party-members only’ employment policy.”

Notes for Editors:

The opinion from John Bowers QC and Mark LR Mullins is available from the Institute. The Directive “Establishing a General Framework for Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation” is made under Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty. Tony Blair reversed the British veto of this Article when he came to power in 1997.