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Friday, 20 August 2010

Should they just become Muslims?!

According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, this week, two registrars in Lambeth, south London, are being investigated after allegedly refusing to conduct same-gender partnership ceremonies because they went against their religious beliefs. Apparently, the two persons - whose identities have not been revealed - made informal shift-changing arrangements with colleagues in order to avoid having to act against their own consciences.

However, according to the report, one of their colleagues mentioned this at a seminar (it doesn't tell if the mention was a complaint, or just an 'off-hand' comment!) where it was picked up by Brian Palmer, a member of the Labour council’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender forum who was at the seminar and who then complained to the borough’s chief executive, who ordered the investigation.

This investigation follows the case of Lillian Ladele, a registrar at Islington in north London who refused to conduct civil partnership ceremonies because they were against her Christian beliefs. The Court of Appeal ruled in December that her refusal breached equality laws, ending a four-year legal battle in which she claimed she had suffered discrimination. Ms Ladele had initially tried to change her rotas but homosexual colleagues complained and she was disciplined by her employers. She later resigned.

Some, of course, will ask, "So what? Is this not a bit of a 'storm in a teacup'?" However, what concerns a growing number of people in the UK is that this is a form of discrimination that is moving towards mild (!) persecution. It would appear that not only are the consciences of a vast number in public life already seared to the point of impotency, but that those same people want to have no-one act in accordance with their conscience! In these cases, I would have thought that the introduction of civil partnerships constituted a change in working practice and conditions that should have, automatically, ensured that no-one was obliged to accept - especially when, as it would seem, others were quite willing to attend to the matters involved.

I always find it interesting that, in today's U.K. it is always the vocal minority who are supposed to be discriminated against, never the (even nominally) Christian majority! It does make me wonder if these registrars should perhaps claim that they are Muslims, to see what the council would then do!!!! In the meantime, let those of us who are disciples of Jesus uphold these two people in prayer (Father God knows their identities!); and remember to pray for those who know persecution at a much deeper level - those who suffer imprisonment, torture, and even death, for the sake of Jesus; those who can say, with Paul, "... I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus." (Gal 6:17; NLT)

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