Today: Lords to vote over who churches can employ
A tight vote is expected in the House of Lords later today, as the Government bids to change the law on who churches can employ.
The Christian Institute has provided key legal briefings and supports Lady O’Cathain’s amendment to the Equality Bill to keep the status quo.
The Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales also back Lady O’Cathain’s amendment, having decided not to support a Government ‘compromise’ amendment.
The Government says its proposal, outlined in its Equality Bill, is simply a clarification of the law – one that is required by Europe.
However, the Government has been embarrassed by a document from the European Commission that thanks them for planning to narrow the exemption for religious employers.
Churches say the Government’s proposals are a significant change, one that will erode the freedom of churches to insist staff conduct is consistent with church teaching on sexual behaviour.
The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said, “Those behind the Equality Bill either don’t know, or don’t care, how churches operate. Faith and doctrine aren’t things to be put in a box and brought out only on ceremonial occasions. They pervade the everyday running of a church, including its staff appointments. Labour wouldn’t employ a Conservative Party member as one of its youth workers. Why are churches expected to act any differently? It is illiberal to force churches to employ people whose lives are inconsistent with the doctrines of the church. I hope Lady O’Cathain’s amendment to keep the status quo succeeds.”