We’ll force gay youth workers on churches, says Government
The Government says its new Equality Bill will force churches to accept practising homosexuals or transsexuals in youth worker posts and other similar roles.
The move has been met with a strong response from Christian groups who have accused the Government of secular intolerance against the church.
The Bill dramatically narrows exemptions in sexual orientation employment laws which protect the religious liberty of churches and other faith groups.
Under the current law, religious groups can restrict posts to Christians whose private conduct is consistent with the Bible’s teaching on sexual ethics. These posts must be for the purposes of organised religion, which could include jobs like a youth worker.
But under the Equality Bill the Government is specifying that this protection can only apply to posts that mainly involve leading worship or explaining doctrine. The Bill’s explanatory notes make it clear that this protection “would not apply to a requirement that a church youth worker or accountant be heterosexual”.
The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said: “The Government’s own explanation of the Bill clearly says churches must accept homosexuals as church youth workers.
“The Bill says nothing about the difference between an active homosexual and someone who has left the lifestyle but still experiences some same-sex attraction. This distinction is crucial for Christians.
“It would be absurd to pass a law demanding that the Labour Party employ card-carrying Conservative members, but that is effectively what churches are being told to do.”