Entertaining the possibility that the world was created is an offence in British universities (as it is in North American ones). Unless you have security of tenure you will lose your job, and journals will not publish any positive reference to the idea. Those who influence and shape opinion (academics, journalists, broadcasters, politicians) are of one mind that God, or the idea of God, should be excluded from public life. And with the shift over the past 150 years from a Christian to an atheistic world-view has come a shift in authority. In modern society right behaviour is no longer a matter of personal conscience, instinct, unwritten social norms, taboos and religious teaching. Many of these are dismissed as ‘prejudice’. The opinion-forming elite decide what right behaviour is, and they enforce it by law. Britain very probably has more laws and government watchdogs regulating behaviour than Israel in the time of the Pharisees, or theocratic Iran. In the perceived absence of a hereafter and of a resurrection when we will be accountable to God, people are accountable to the State.
The foremost legal instrument for enforcing right behaviour in Britain is the Equality Act of 2010, which outlaws discrimination in relation to nine protected characteristics. Some of these are morally neutral (e.g. age, disability, race), others not (religion, philosophical belief, sexuality). Given that it is appropriate to legislate in these areas, few people would object to outlawing discrimination on grounds of age, disability or race. It might also seem unjust to discriminate on grounds of religion, belief or sexuality. Nonetheless, there are differences. It is not possible meaningfully to disapprove of someone’s being of a certain age, having a certain skin colour, or suffering from a certain disability. Implicitly, the Act says that these aspects of the body are not germane to what we really are. But it is possible, rightly or wrongly, to disapprove of someone’s religion, philosophical beliefs or sexuality, since these involve questions of truth, moral choice and social good. They go to the heart of what we really are. Here the Act is saying: while you may have beliefs of your own regarding what is true, moral and beneficial, you are not allowed to disassociate yourself from anything you disapprove of, and you are not allowed to take decisions which do not put all religions, philosophical beliefs and sexual relationships on an equal footing.
The philosophy behind this part of the legislation is atheistic, for it is only from that standpoint that all forms of religious or philosophical belief and all forms of sexuality can be considered equal (atheism itself excepted, being more equal than other beliefs). So far as the State is concerned, whether God exists as the ultimate standard of morality is no longer a matter which can be discussed and on which people may legitimately hold different views. In former centuries ‘religion’, i.e. Christianity, was a category in the same realm as history and science: it was founded on events that actually took place, on a perception of the world as clearly not a product of accident and on a recognition that human beings were spiritual beings. In this century, in the words of Lord Justice Laws, it appears ‘irrational, as preferring the subjective over the objective, … divisive, capricious and arbitrary.’ Today, ‘we do not live in a society where all people share uniform religious beliefs.’ Most people live and think on the basis that there is no God, and since it is part of the atheistic proposition to legislate where, previously, behaviour was a matter of conscience, the law imposes on a largely assenting society an atheistic morality. In the vacuum left by a Church that has done little to establish the rationality of its own position and is, in most communities, effete and moribund, atheistic man determines what is absolute for himself. He settles the chaos of a multitude of religious beliefs by imposing his own, his jurisdiction as absolute as his sense of righteousness. If in certain situations an individual’s own sense of what is true, moral or beneficial differs from the State’s, it is simply overridden. There is no freedom of expression or freedom of conscience.
Having lost our sense of the transcendent, we have developed a different understanding of what it means to be human. Our expulsion of the divine has forced us to suppose that there is only matter, and man, fundamentally, is no different from the lifeless robots he himself creates. ‘We are survival machines,’ teaches Richard Dawkins, ‘robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.’ We are blocks of atoms manufactured by mindless Evolution in the particular form of human beings, like idols chiselled from wood, and we all bow down before each other, saying “You are my god!” Life is scientifically defined as an ‘arrangement of molecules with qualities of self-sustenance and self-replication’, ignoring the obvious point that we have an inner life, we are not merely bodies, we are not, in essence, biological machines.
For how can we be children of Evolution if a person’s soul – or whatever you wish to call the reality that is your inner life – is immaterial and cannot be inherited, does not evolve from one generation to another and collectively from one species to another? There is no natural selection of the soul. If you think we are just arrangements of atoms, ask yourself why killing another human being is wrong (except perhaps in self-defence or judicial punishment), why you speak of ‘taking away’ someone’s life, why you think it permissible to kill a baby inside the womb yet not to kill a baby outside the womb, why you inconsistently refer to yourself as ‘I’ and to your body as ‘my body’ distinct from the one who owns it, why ‘body and soul’ is a meaningful phrase to describe the totality of our being. Ask yourself why life matters at all.
Opinion formers tell us that we (souls searching for identity and significance) should find our identity in our sex and sexuality, on the basis that we are just bodies (though the body is itself wonderful and testifies to its Maker). ‘Sexual orientation is a core component of a person’s identity which requires fulfilment with others of the same orientation,’ as the Supreme Court puts it ( UKSC 73). There is no authority beyond this world, corresponding to, but superior to, the authority of our own will. There is no Spirit beyond this world, corresponding to, but superior to, our own spirit. Like the idea of God, our inner lives are an illusion generated by the body’s molecules, and we ‘fulfil’ ourselves by following the urges of the body, unhindered by prejudices that religious people call obligations (virtues) of holiness and chastity. On the other hand, recognise the reality of your inner life, recognise that the soul has longings which the body cannot satisfy, and you begin to see that atheism is a deception. If it is true that we are just molecules, how can thoughts and longings have any validity at all? If there is no soul, there is no ‘I’ and all its thoughts, including its atheistic thoughts, are determined by autonomous chemical reactions, by the properties of atoms, notwithstanding the sensation of rationality. If the soul is real, it cannot have originated from nothing. Its existence points to some other plane of reality.
The soul must come from some creative power that itself has no origin, namely, God. It comes to the body as the body forms in the womb, unique to each individual. Only God knows the thoughts of our heart, the centre of our soul, and has the perfect knowledge and perfect righteousness with which to judge justly. We should seek our identity in him, who offers us eternal life and atonement for our unrighteousness. Not that we have no life now, but that it is corrupt, and he answers our enormous longing not to lose our life. The State has authority to judge deeds. When it stands in judgement over our thoughts, it is usurping the role of God. Scripture speaks of an evil power that blinds and darkens human understanding. Is that the spirit that is now taking over entire institutions and making all society conform to the ideology that there is no God, in denial both of him and of ourselves as spiritual beings?
Here are some examples of how the new ideology is influencing thought and behaviour. Many of them illustrate the practical consequences of the Equality Act, whether or not foreseen. As in other revolutions – in France after 1789, Russia after 1917, Germany after 1933, China after 1949 – society is being re-fashioned. The law is being written on our hearts. The Equality and Human Rights Commission compiles statistics to monitor how fast social attitudes are changing. We self-censor rather than offend. Increasingly, we police ourselves. If not, there are many willing to inform on teachers, colleagues and neighbours and ensure that we bow our heads. Those who do not comply are disciplined, fined, ostracised. Discrimination against those who in all conscience cannot go along with the new orthodoxy – or who just inadvertently trip up against the legislation – is legally sanctioned, for the law itself discriminates.
Retired merchant seaman Jim Gardiner, 73, ran a burger van on an industrial estate in Penrith. On 24 January 2017 he took an order from landscape gardener Piers Palmer. Mr Palmer was in a rush (again). Having been caught speeding, he was now on his way to attend a speed awareness course.
“Such courses are a waste of time,” remarked Mr Gardiner as he prepared a sandwich. “It’s the Muslims and Pakistanis in Manchester and London that are the real problem, not people like us.” He lifted some sauce bottles off his counter, pulled out some sheets of paper and said, “Read this if you want to educate yourself.”
Mr Palmer refused, and said the idea there were Muslim ‘no-go’ areas in Manchester was an urban myth. “Then you’re in the wrong place if you want food from me. Do one!”
Mr Palmer reported Mr Gardiner to the police for ‘hate speech’ and Mr Gardiner found himself before the Magistrates Court. He denied a racially aggravated offence under the Public Order Act but was convicted, fined £127, with a £30 victim surcharge, and ordered to pay £50 compensation. He also had to pay £620 prosecution costs. Mr Palmer reflected, “If he was willing to say that to me, a man in his mid 40s, you have to wonder about the effect on somebody more vulnerable. There should be zero tolerance of any sort of hate speech. It just breeds division.”
Anyone who has read Tacitus’s Annals, or George Orwell’s 1984, or accounts of life in the Soviet Union, China or North Korea will be chilled by how the UK too has become a society where people report their fellow citizens to the police for having wrong thoughts. Also chilling is that Mr Palmer was not informing on his compatriot for financial reward (though he was paid a little compensation) but because he thought it his duty. The sense that he was doing the right thing was reward enough. (Source)
It is just as well Mr Gardiner already lives in the UK. If he did not, and he were to apply for a visa, he would be denied entry – in the same way as others objecting to large-scale immigration and creeping Islamisation have been. Labelling such opinions ‘far-right’ and ‘extremist’, the UK Border Agency considers them incompatible with British values and a ‘serious threat to the fundamental interests of society’.
Although no charges were brought on this account, Mr Gardiner was also guilty of discriminating against Mr Palmer because of philosophical belief.
The police regularly complain that they are under-resourced. That may be true, but, as with the health service, the demand is limitless: there is too much dishonesty and violence for all crimes to be prosecuted. A Freedom of Information request made by Channel 4 for a Dispatches documentary (8 October 2018) shows that over a quarter of crimes in England and Wales are being screened out with little or no investigation. At the same time, the police increasingly see themselves as guardians of ‘British values’. In order to enforce them, fewer resources go into investigating shoplifting, burglary and fraud (typically on the internet) and more into ‘hate crime’, an Orwellian concept that man knew nothing about until the 21st century. In law a hate crime is ‘any criminal offence which is perceived … to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.’ So it’s a matter of perception rather than reality. The police and the courts now judge what is in the heart of man, and successful prosecutions are easy enough when all the law requires is a perception – an official perception of a perception.
In Scotland – which enjoys a large measure of independence from the UK and is essentially a one-party state – enforcement of the new morality has been taken to the next level. ‘Scotland,’ the Scottish Government’s website tells the country, ‘believes in equality for all. No one should be denied opportunities because of age, disability, gender, gender identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.’ Posters been put up in towns and cities all over the country targeting self-identifying ‘homophobes’, ‘transphobes’ and ‘bigots’. These enemies of the people are warned that manifestation of their opinions will be deemed criminal and, if found out, they can expect to be punished. The assault on orthodox Christianity is plain. Readers self-identifying as respectful and loving are urged to report their fellow citizens to the police. That the posters themselves promote vilification and hatred is an irony lost on the mutaween.
The witch-hunt, as such operations used to be called, is considered to be backed by the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (2003), section 74 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act (2003), the Sex Discrimination (Amendment of Legislation) Regulations (2008) and The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act (2009). Theresa May’s speech to Stonewall in 2011 shows that in England the government has long been pursuing much the same agenda.
Martin Hall and Steven Preddy were two men who had entered into a civil partnership. Peter and Hazel Mary Bull ran a guesthouse on Christian principles and only let double rooms to married couples, as stated on their website. Unaware of these conditions, Mr Hall and Mr Preddy booked a double room by telephone, but when they arrived were refused accommodation. They took the owners to court. The county court held that the Bulls had directly discriminated against the men and ordered them to pay the respondents compensation. They appealed the judgement they argued that they themselves had been discriminated against on grounds of their religion (on which more below re Ashers Bakery). However, the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court all upheld the judgement. The Equality and Human Rights Commission saw no need to maintain impartiality – it underwrote the legal costs of the homosexual couple all the way.
Speaking later to the press, the Bulls disclosed that they had had death threats as well as letters of support. Bolts from the wheels of their car had been removed, their website had been corrupted with pornography and their property had been vandalised. Mrs Bull said, “We are not fanatics. We have often been portrayed as being bigoted. … I have always thought of them as people and enjoy their company. It is just that we thought it would be wrong for here. … All the way through we have always said ‘no unmarried couples’; it just happens that homosexuals fit into that category … It is a terribly difficult subject.” Unable to advertise their business and burdened with legal costs, they eventually had to sell up.
It should be added that allowing only married couples now would not have the effect of barring homosexual couples.
Gareth Lee was a member of an organisation called QueerSpace, which campaigns for LGBT rights in Northern Ireland. Ashers Bakery, a company part-owned by Colin and Karen McArthur, provided a customised cake-making service. In order to mark the end of ‘Northern Ireland Anti-homophobic Week’, in May 2014 Mr Lee placed an order for a cake bearing a picture of ‘Bert and Ernie’, the logo for QueerSpace, and the caption ‘Support Gay Marriage’. Writing down the details, Karen McArthur was shocked but kept her counsel. After discussing the matter with her family, she telephoned Mr Lee to advise that the bakery was a Christian business and for that reason could not accept the order. So Mr Lee had the cake made elsewhere and complained to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, which ruled that the equality laws – here the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (NI) 2006 – had been breached. It ordered the bakery to rectify the situation and pay damages.
In the County Court, the defendants maintained that the case differed from that of the Bulls inasmuch as the bakery objected to what it was asked to do, not to the characteristics of who made the request. Likewise the bakery had previously declined orders that involved offensive language or the depiction of nudity. If the customer had been heterosexual, it would have declined the order for a cake emblazoned with ‘Support Gay Marriage’ just the same. If Mr Lee had ordered a cake not bearing an offensive slogan, they would have accepted the order. In principle, the law applied only to situations where ‘a person’ was discriminated against on grounds of sexual orientation. Judge Brownlie did not accept the distinction; she thought it sufficient to consider only the grounds.
She also considered whether they might have the benefit of Article 9 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (better known as the European Convention of Human Rights). This states that ‘everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion’, and ‘freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs [in worship, teaching, practice and observance] shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law… for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others’. She ruled that they could not benefit from its protection, because, as in the case of the Bulls, the UK law on anti-discrimination was a proportionate means of achieving the legitimate aim of protecting the rights and freedoms of people such as Mr Lee. The defendants were free to manifest their religious beliefs, but only in accordance with the law, which denied them that freedom.
On appeal, this interpretation was confirmed (para 99). The defendants were not discriminated against, because the legislation treated all those who had religious objections to its provisions equally (i.e. discriminated against them all equally). The McArthurs understood their business to have been the indiscriminate provision of bakery products that did not conflict with their Christian faith; what they objected to was the slogan, not the fact that they were being asked to supply a cake, or the fact that the customer was a homosexual. The judges saw only the cake: the business was that of baking cakes, what slogans they bore was of no account, and the McArthurs had discriminated against a person. They were not free to provide only products that did not conflict with their Christian faith (para 100), though they were free not to provide a service that involved any religious or political message.
It seemed that, although religious belief and sexual disposition were ostensibly both protected characteristics, in practice the UK law was so framed that its protection of the latter could be used as an instrument to quash the other. Article 9 of the ECHR was itself interpreted so as to achieve this end, even at the cost of making the convention self-contradictory. The intent of ‘subject only to’ in Article 9 is to require the competing freedoms of the two parties in a case to be balanced, not for one freedom to override the other so that freedom to manifest one’s religion is nullified. If a balance cannot be struck, because the freedoms are mutually exclusive, the convention is designed to protect ‘fundamental freedoms’; the ‘rights and freedoms of others’ that might require some limitation of the fundamental right to freedom of religion are only those guaranteed elsewhere in the convention. The right not to be discriminated against on grounds of sexual orientation is not one of those rights. Instead of the Equality Act being subject to the convention, the convention was being made subject to it.
The case went to the Supreme Court, who released their judgement in October 2018. The judges accepted that the bakers had not refused the order because of Mr Lee’s homosexuality but because of the message of the cake, and ruled that they were entitled to do so. The decisions of the lower courts were unanimously overturned. Simon Calvert, of the Christian Institute, which supported the McArthurs, commented, “The ruling is good news for everyone. … The Muslim printer does not have to print cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. The lesbian who runs her own T-shirt firm does not have to do T-shirts criticising same sex marriage.”
It should be noted that discrimination – treating one person less favourably than another – is unlawful only in relation to one of the nine protected characteristics. Ostensibly, the McArthurs could have refused Mr Lee business without giving a reason, or on grounds not covered by the Equality Act, for example because they did not like his voice. The law does not encourage frankness.
In 2013 Victoria Wasteney, an occupational health therapist with the National Health Service, developed what seemed like a friendship with a female Muslim colleague who was going through health problems and personal issues at home. In that context she lent her a book about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity (I Dared to Call Him Father) and invited her to a number of events organised by her church. She also prayed for her. The colleague eventually complained about these overtures, with the result that the NHS suspended Miss Wasteney for nine months on full pay. Following an internal disciplinary hearing and subsequent appeal she received a written warning, to remain on her employment record for 12 months. Not happy with this treatment, she brought a claim against her employer, arguing that it had discriminated against her on grounds of religion and infringed her rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. The claim was rejected.
Delving into the case further than the details reported on her supporter’s website and in most of the newspapers, one may well conclude that the decision was correct. The Muslim was not simply a colleague: Miss Wasteney was her manager. According to her testimony, she felt obliged to listen while her manager shared her faith, and she did so mostly in silence. She had not accepted any of the invitations to attend church meetings. Unwell with Crohn’s disease, she had taken long periods of sick leave. Miss Wasteney told her she would not be well until she called on Jesus to heal her. In the disciplinary hearing she was asked, “Reflecting back now, when you prayed on [your colleague for ten minutes] whilst touching her knee, do you think this is appropriate, particularly given your seniority?” She replied, “I felt I wasn’t in my senior role when I did this but I have learnt from this. I do not say this was the right thing to do. I do not think this was appropriate given the circumstances.” Harassment is a form of discrimination under the Equality Act. She would have done well to accept the warning and let the matter drop. A copy of the complaint letter and of the tribunal’s judgment can be accessed via links on the National Secular Society’s report of the case.
Richard Page served as a Justice of the Peace in Kent for 15 years. During a closed-door consultation with fellow magistrates about an adoption case he expressed the view that a child’s best interests lay in being raised by both a mother and a father. As he had a legal duty to act in the best interests of the child, he could not agree to placing the child with a same-sex couple.
The local JP Advisory Panel referred the case to the Lord Chancellor Michael Gove and the Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd. They found that Mr Page’s approach amounted to discrimination under the Equality Act. He was publicly reprimanded for being ‘biased and prejudiced’, and barred from sitting as a Magistrate until he had received ‘equality training’.
Commenting on his experience, Mr Page said, “Since making the decision I have been put under huge pressure to conform to the conclusions that others wanted me to reach. But I knew that I had to dissent, for the sake of that child. Christian faith demands setting aside ideologically convenient conclusions and fighting for the best interests of children.”
In March 2016 he was also suspended from his role as non-executive director of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust. The Trust alleged that the expression of his views about family life on TV and other media had undermined the confidence of NHS staff. In August the NHS confirmed that allowing him to continue was not in the best interests of the health service.
In August 2017 Mr Page brought a claim against the NHS Trust Development Authority, alleging that he had been discriminated against on grounds of religion and belief. According to his lawyer, “Mr Page was removed from office not for any misconduct in the ordinary sense: something objectively reprehensible or unworthy. He was removed for dissent. His beliefs on a philosophical issue, having nothing to do with practical workings of the NHS, turned out to be out of tune with its ideological orthodoxy. Dressing this as undermining ‘confidence’ of a particular group, or splitting hairs between ‘belief’ and its ‘expression’, can hardly disguise the ugly truth of the matter. He was removed for his legitimate, sincerely held beliefs which the Respondent disagrees with. This is a slippery slope away from democratic pluralism and into ideological dictatorship.”
In its judgment, the tribunal rejected the submission. The Trust had dismissed him, not for holding or expressing his views as such, but for ‘accepting invitations to appear, and then appearing, in the press and on national television, compounded by the fact that he did so without informing the Trust when he had been expressly told to do so. Expressing his views in that context was not something that the tribunal finds was intimately linked to his religion or his beliefs.’ In other words, he did not have the right to speak to the media when approached by them, and explaining publicly why he thought a child was best reared by a father and mother was sufficient grounds for dismissal. Moreover, ‘Had the belief relied on by the Claimant been the wider views expressed in his Good Morning Britain television interview in March 2016, i.e. that homosexual activity is wrong, then the tribunal may well have concluded that this was not a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society.’ (Source)
Evidently, the tribunal considered itself to be an arbiter of morality as well as of justice. In today’s Alice-in-Wonderland world, a magistrate who believes that a father and mother together form the best environment in which to bring up a child can be branded by the State as a social leper, and find that the law on discrimination discriminates against him. There is no defence.
Catholic Care, a charity whose origins went back to an orphanage set up in 1863, identified and screened couples willing to adopt. It then linked them with ‘hard to place’ children and provided support for the new parents after adoption. On religious grounds (e.g. God told Moses at Mount Sinai that homosexual intercourse was an abomination), and probably also in accordance with an instinctive sense of revulsion, Catholic Care placed children only with heterosexual couples. The Charity Commission considered that the policy was in breach of the Equality Act. Even if the charity’s Memorandum of Association had explicitly required it to provide services only to heterosexual adoptive couples, it would still have been in breach. The decision was confirmed at tribunal.
Core Issues Trust was due to premiere its documentary film, Voices of the Silenced, on 8 February 2018 at the Vue cinema, Piccadilly Circus, London. Challenging the idea that a homosexual disposition was innate, the film described the experiences of 15 individuals who had sought psychiatric help to change. LGBT newspaper PinkNews voiced its opposition and got 600 people to petition for the film to be banned. Baroness Barker said the film-makers had a “warped view of the world”. Lord Black called the film “hateful”, “appalling propaganda,” (in other words, “I hate anyone who doesn’t wish homosexuality to be normalised”) and offers of therapy aimed at countering homosexual feelings “wicked”. Neither had seen the film. Apparently bowing to the pressure, if it can be called that, Vue decided at the last minute to cancel the screening. They issued a statement, ‘While it is not our intention to censor content, in some instances where we feel an activity is in direct contradiction to Vue’s values a decision will be made to refrain from allowing a private event to go ahead.’ Evidently its values did not include free speech, willingness to listen to evidence, or allowing professionals to help people who ask for help – a set of anti-values shared by many social liberals. Vue exercised their right to withhold their services in a situation where performing them would have associated them, de facto, with something they disapproved of, on grounds of philosophical belief. Mr and Mrs Bull also exercised such a right when they refused accommodation to couples who were not married. Vue were not challenged by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, presumably because whether the law supports you or discriminates against you depends on which side of the ideological divide you stand.
As for the film, in questioning the idea that homosexuality is innate, it also questions the rationale of the Equality Act’s to lump ‘sexual orientation’ with characteristics such as age, disability and race. The law implies that sexual disposition is a characteristic an individual can do nothing about, though he can, of course, still resist the disposition. Any higher view of man – the suggestion that he can change – is not welcome. And while everyone accepts that religious or philosophical beliefs are not determined by the body, the simultaneous belief that man is just an arrangement of molecules is an inconsistency atheism prefers not to address.
Andrew Turner served as Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight for 16 years, from 2001 to 2017. In April 2017 he attended a question-and-answer session at Christ the King College, Newport. One 16 year-old, describing herself as a “passionate campaigner for LGBT rights”, asked him if he was involved in the Isle of Wight’s first ever Pride event. He said he was not; in his opinion homosexuality was wrong and the gay rights movement a danger to society. The student walked out and the Labour Party called on Theresa May to intervene. “There is no place for bigotry and hatred like this in modern society and no one holding these views is fit for public office,” a spokesman said. Having verified the facts, senior figures in the Conservative Party duly informed Mr Turner that his views were unacceptable and told him he must step down before he was pushed.
Positive discrimination is encouraged by the Equality Act, especially on the part of political parties and public authorities. Public authorities include, amongst others, the BBC, government departments, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the NHS and schools. They have not merely permission but a legal duty to ‘advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it’, and as the Act says, ‘compliance … may involve treating some persons more favourably than others’ (discriminating against others). Two forms of positive action are permitted: specific measures such as a tie-breaker provision at the final stage of recruitment and general positive action to increase the talent pool, e.g. a training scheme to bring on under-represented persons who, once trained, become eligible for permanent employment (in practice, to the exclusion of other candidates). Which under-represented group an organisation might focus on is a matter of choice. Positive discrimination is unlikely to be exercised in relation to those under-represented because of age or disability, for example.
Young people’s ideas and social attitudes are largely set by the time they go to university. This is where future academics, journalists, broadcasters, judges and politicians learn about the theoretical and philosophical foundations of what they have absorbed. It is also where some learn the value of argument by name-calling. Free Speech University Rankings monitors the extent to which universities – including student unions, which themselves try to control what ideas students are exposed to – uphold freedom of thought and belief. In 2018 it examined the policies and actions of 115 universities in this regard. It found that 55% of universities in the UK actively censor speech, 39% stifle speech through excessive regulation, and just 6% could be said to be truly free. Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) was sufficiently concerned that it investigated for itself. Its report Freedom of Speech in Universities, published in March 2018, confirmed that student unions were using ‘no platforming’ and ‘safe-space’ policies to censor beliefs they didn’t want students to hear and incidents of intimidatory behaviour by protestors intent on preventing free speech and debate were commonplace. Over-zealous application of government restrictions by university administrators was adding to the problem.
Students wearing black masks and hoods stormed a Libertarian Society discussion at King’s College London because they objected to a speaker’s views on feminism, making their point by assaulting the security guar. ds, smashing windows and hurling smoke bombs. Some in the audience stood up and chanted “No fascists on campus”, including a masters’ student studying Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies. At Bristol University any woman who believes that identifying as a woman is not the same as being born a woman has been banned from students meetings. Bath Spa University, having approved a project to examine why growing numbers of transgender people were reversing their transition surgery, changed its mind for fear that the research would provoke unnecessary offence and attacks on social media.
In 2019 Cambridge University’s Faculty of Divinity offered Toronto University professor Jordan Peterson a 2-month visiting fellowship. His plan was to write a series of lectures on the Book of Exodus. But a photograph of him alongside a man who self-identified as an ‘Islamaphobe’ came to the faculty’s attention, and they rescinded the offer – on Twitter. A spokeswoman said, without irony, that the university was “an inclusive environment and we expect all our staff and visitors to uphold our principles. There is no place here for anyone who cannot.”
North American universities also struggle to breathe clean air. Not far into a discussion of Google’s sacking of a software engineer because he suggested that men and women tended to be interested in different things, several students at Portland State University damaged the sound system and walked out. The offending observation, by a female evolutionary biologist, was that men on average were taller than women. “She is brainwashing them!” one protested. “You should not listen to fascism,” another explained. “It should not be tolerated in civil society. Nazis are not welcome in civil society.”
But even these discussions take place under a taboo. For who pauses to reflect on the wonderful design of man’s reproductive system? Professors and students alike accept that it is the work of blind Evolution. Who pauses to reflect on how a new individual comes into being with the union of just two cells, like Adam and Eve, which divide and divide as in the genealogy of all mankind, each unfathomably complex cell somehow knowing what its role in the body is? On how the placenta provides oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby and removes its waste products for as long as it is in the womb. On how the hormones, each with their own roles and coming on at the right time, stimulate contractions (oxytocin), relieve pain (beta-endorphin), boost energy (adrenaline) and instruct the breasts to produce milk (prolactin).
The body is a temple, and the womb its inner sanctuary, sealed off by a hymeneal curtain. It is the workplace of God. Procreation is the Creator’s delegation of his work to his creatures, so that the created world might be independent of its Creator: the cutting of the umbilical cord. The cost of that independence is that the one creature who stands as his representative, with dominion over all the Earth, is free to deny that it owes its existence to him. Today the denial has turned into self-imposed mental imprisonment, where individuals and institutions alike censor the thought that the body appears designed because it actually is designed. If experienced at all, the sense of wonder is directed towards Evolution – mindless wonder at a mindless pseudo-Creator.
Dr Francesca Carpos was a member of the Royal Academy of Music. She had prepared a document to help music students survive and flourish as professionals. She explained that in the argot of orchestras string players were known as ‘pond life’ who drank in tea rooms, the brass section was thought to hang out in pubs and violinists were referred to as gypos, because of gypsies’ love of that instrument. Who knows whether these observations were made with some amusement? But certain students who received the document were outraged. They condemned it as ‘absolutely unacceptable’. It stereotyped musicians according to what instrument they played, thereby ‘alienating performers who feel they do not fit the mould’. It encouraged ‘a toxic… environment in which musicians are complicit in the harassment of and discrimination against colleagues’. Using the word ‘gypo’ was racist. The Academy’s principal Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood solemnly considered the complaints, which were nothing if not toxic themselves, and could not but agree. Dr Carpos was summarily dismissed. (Source)
Schools are required by the Government not to discriminate against children who identify themselves as homosexual, bisexual or transsexual and to ensure they have written policies demonstrating their compliance. Joshua Sutcliffe taught maths in Cherwell School, Oxford, achieving excellent results. He ran a Bible club there, attended by over 100 pupils, but after 18 months it was shut down, apparently because he had said (in answer to a question) that marriage according to the Bible was between a man and a woman. The school’s LGBTI club and Qigong club continued without interference.
Then one day, in November 2017, Mr Sutcliffe praised his class with the words “well done, girls”. This was an inadvertent slip, for one of the children wanted to be referred to as a boy rather than girl and he had always tried not to refer to her by an unwanted designation. She became irate. Mr Sutcliffe sought to diffuse the situation and apologised. The parents made a complaint. The school immediately forbade him from teaching and confined him to the staff room. Following a week-long investigation, it decided he had ‘misgendered’ the pupil and demonstrated ‘discriminatory behaviours’, thereby contravening its equality policy. A disciplinary hearing, attended by the head and three governors, was to follow. At that point, he spoke to the newspapers about his treatment, prompting the school to allege breach of confidence and bringing it into disrepute. He is now suing the school. Under the Equality Act it is unlawful for a school to discriminate against any pupil on grounds of ‘gender reassignment’. However, while the superintending watchdog construes persistent refusal to use the preferred gender designation as harassment, Explanatory Note 294 says that ‘harassment’ of pupils on such grounds is not discrimination. On the other hand, it is unlawful to discriminate against (e.g. bully) employees on grounds of religion or philosophical belief (e.g. believing that the concept of gender is ill-founded). Mr Sutcliffe might have a case for constructive dismissal, on grounds of unreasonable and disproportionate enforcement of school policy.
In a similar case, the Crown Prosecution Service has suggested that persistent ‘misgendering’ of a pupil is a ‘hate crime’. (Source)
Svetlana Powell, a teacher of 17 years’ experience, was dismissed by the T2 Apprenticeship Academy in Bristol in July 2016 after being asked by students about her views on evolution and homosexuality. What she said regarding evolution is not recorded. On the question of homosexuality she said she thought it was against God’s will; nonetheless, he loved every person, regardless of what they did or who they were. Several of the students then complained to the school that they were being “brainwashed and preached to”. The school’s Chief Safeguarding Officer reported her as a ‘radicalisation threat’ to the government’s anti-terrorist agency. Summoned to a disciplinary hearing the next day, Mrs Powell was grilled about her Christian faith and what she had said to the students. The next day, the Human Resources Officer informed her that she was fired for ‘gross misconduct’ with immediate effect. The Employment Tribunal dismissed her claim of unfair dismissal. (Source)
Brian Walker had been a member of the Scout Association since he was a boy, rising in time to become a scout leader of other boys (and now girls). On reading through recent editions of Scouting magazine, he became concerned at the extent to which the Association’s implementation of the Association’s policy on diversity and inclusion was including everyone and everything except Christians and Christianity. So he wrote to the magazine’s editor expressing concern. The editor wrote back to say he disagreed, and four days later Mr Walker was expelled. The appeal body upheld the decision, on the grounds that he had transgressed the policy: ‘The Scout Association opposes all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including racism, sexism and homophobia.’ Read the source of this report for more disturbing details about the organisation.
Or Girlguiding as it is now known. With the rise of the militant LGBT movement, what it means to be a girl is no longer clear, at least to the HQ of Girlguiding. Its equality and diversity policy accepts that if a child or young person self-identifies as a girl or young woman, then, even if the child is biologically male, that is what he/she/it is. Moreover, if a transgender child at a residential event should share a room, shower facilities and toilet facilities with non-transgender girls, the organisation does not think that the girls’ parents should be informed. More than 200 guide leaders, parents and guides wrote an open letter to the Sunday Times objecting that the policy ‘poses safeguarding risks, reinforces gender stereotypes and denies informed parental consent’. They wanted some public debate on the matter. The organisation responded by expelling two of the guide leaders (including Helen Watts, pictured) and investigating five others.
Rainbows is the Girguiding division for 5 to 7 year-olds. In 2013 HQ reworded their pledge from “I promise that I will do my best to love my God” to “I promise that I will do my best to develop my beliefs”. Emma Jeffrey, who had served for seven years as a volunteer leader of 1st Abbeydale Rainbows, Gloucester, continued to use the old form of words. HQ objected. She was told she had to resign.
Primary schools – where the minds of the very young are formed – are a major battlefield in this largely undeclared spiritual war. As always, the truth about God is attacked by questioning traditional ideas about sex, whether to do with chastity or identity. It was the same in Old Testament times, when Israel came under judgement primarily because of sexual infidelity. (Read II Kings 17, Jeremiah 2 and Ezekiel 23 for the graphic details.) It wasn’t simply that marital unfaithfulness was rife. Physical adultery went hand in hand with spiritual adultery. Israel had rejected what God had revealed about himself and put in place a fertility god, Baal (meaning ‘Lord’ or ‘Husband’): the Creator, yes, but one who had sexual relations with another heavenly being called Asherah. Accordingly, Israelites worshipped Baal by fornicating with cult prostitutes. They even sacrificed children to him. So in our own sexually licentious abortion-approving age, when there is no concept of man having been created male and female (not even among church leaders), man looks to his own body for identity and meaning, and tries to be his own creator.
One arm of government that is increasingly turning into an organ of child propaganda is Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. In addition to raising standards of education in the traditional sense, it has also in recent years sought to erode Christian values and replace them with so-called ‘British values’ – an invidious term that suggests that the values go back a long way in our culture, and that everyone who is British knows what they are and shares them (the government merely putting them into words); anyone who does not share them is not British. The values are similar to those underlying the Equality Act, a mixture of good, neutral and bad. Stories of school inspectors asking children intrusive questions about homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the like cannot always be verified but are becoming more common, and illustrate the push to inculcate the values. In January 2018 Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, urged the government to authorise the watchdog to inspect Christian Sunday schools and Bible clubs, to ensure that their teaching conformed with British values. “If we are to protect many of the tenets that the Church holds dear, we need the power to tackle those trying to use education to undermine them,” she said. In May 2018 the Department for Education proposed that Ofsted should threaten with closure any school that allowed a teacher to express disapproval of same-sex marriage.
In 2016 Caroline Jordan, the president of the Girls’ Schools Association, said teachers should consider using gender-neutral language, and many schools are introducing gender-neutral uniforms. Children are being encouraged to question who they are in relation to their sex, with rising numbers, on being surveyed, saying they identify as being either of the opposite sex or of no sex at all. The National Health Service is also involved in the indoctrination. It has been offering adults a Gender Identity Clinic since 1966. It set up its Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) for children in 1989.
As a result of the overturning of social norms there is now a lot of confusion (dubbed ‘gender dysphoria’). As with the rise in mental illness, the problem is being treated as if it were simply a medical condition rather than a result of the social revolution. The GIDS website advises:
Some children who were assigned male (i.e. registered as male) when they were born may not feel like a boy when they are older, or may prefer to dress in clothes or play with toys that other people say are ‘for girls’. They may feel or say that they are a girl. In the same way, some children or young people who were assigned ‘female’ at birth might feel or say that they are a boy. Others might say that neither ‘boy’ nor ‘girl’ seems the right word for how they feel about themselves. … We help our clients to explore their feelings and choose the path that best suits their ideals.
The new ideology makes a distinction between sex and gender (‘gender’ used to be purely a grammatical term): while a child is undeniably born with a male or female body, it can choose to live as if he or she were the other sex. Feelings matter more than reason, however divisive, capricious and arbitrary. From the universities down, teachers teach that the only reality is matter, that animals are only bodies and that there is no such thing as a soul. At the same time we get this acknowledgement that there is a real person inside the body that can feel alienated from it or even trapped in it. One school teaches that differences between boys and girls are purely cultural – there is no such thing as a male or female brain type (source); another, that a child may be physically a boy but psychologically a girl, physically a girl but psychologically a boy. If feelings dictate, the ‘I’ can choose to think and act as if it had another body. Thus the inescapable soul/body distinction – along with the male/female distinction – is surreptitiously re-introduced in support of an illusion.
It’s an illusion dissenting teachers are required to humour. So are parents, many of them as confused as their sons and daughters, with the threat that if they do not assent, their children can be taken from them (source). As two Christian parents at a Church of England school discovered, children are becoming confused – confused, ultimately, about what truth itself is. Somehow, as they learn how to think, they are having to process the experience of adults teaching them to prefer ‘the subjective over the objective’ and deny outward reality. So the disorder is ‘affirmed’ and, unresisted by social norms, taboos or religious teaching, the disorder grows. In 2009/10 GIDS received 94 referrals for treatment. By 2016/17 this had risen to 2016, by 2017/18 to 2519, of which the majority, 1806, were ‘assigned at birth’ females. Hormone blockers – which GIDS has been offering to children as young as 11 – halt development of the natal sex and by age 16 the process is irreversible. Not surprisingly, as schools increasingly propagate values that many see as false and leading to mental health problems, more and more parents are choosing to opt out of the State system. The number of children being educated at home in the past seven years has tripled to some 48,000. Private, non-regulated schools are also growing, some of which may be as extreme as the State-run schools. “Once upon a time it would have been the Brighton and Totnes brigades doing their slightly homespun thing, but we are seeing the emergence of things that nobody ever contemplated,” observes Ofsted’s Chief Inspector. Calls are growing for more regulation.
Meanwhile, ignoring the scientific evidence, the NHS will do its best to bring the body into line. ‘If desired, steps can be taken towards more permanent hormone or surgical treatments to alter your child’s body further, to fit with their gender identity,’ it advises. If ‘gender dysphoria’ is a mental illness (a point discussed in North West Lancashire Health Authority v. A, D and G), the treatment offered is to alter the body rather than the mind. The hormones administered make the body more rather than less ambiguous. Other such disorders raise similar issues: a girl with anorexia believes she is obese, a man with xenomelia believes that one or more of his limbs do not belong to him – is the appropriate treatment to offer the girl liposuction/”>liposuction/” target=”_blank”>liposuction/”>liposuction, the man amputation? Is medical treatment really to be founded on the brain’s perception that ‘the brain is a slave to the environment and to what’s going on in the body’? Therapy to assist homosexuals re-orient their feelings is deemed beyond the pale. As one MP told the House of Commons, it “does dreadful, dreadful damage to young people’s emotional and psychological health and it is long overdue to be banned”. It is being banned – Amazon will not even retail books on the subject. The Government Equalities Office, which has a budget of £18 million, plans to introduce legislation which will outlaw conversion therapy. Schools already have an ‘anti-homophobic, biphobic and transphobic’ indoctrination program forced upon them; the GEO plans to ‘extend’ it with a further £1 million. Everyone, young and old, is being compelled by the state to have the same world-view. There is no room for debate, still less dissent. If you’re born a boy or girl, the LGBT lobby insist you are free to change; if you’re born (supposedly) a homosexual, you’re stuck with it – it’s who you are.
The Church of England goes along with the new thinking. In all the cases described in which institutions, including the State itself, have been subverting Christian norms and Christians faithful to their conscience have been put under pressure, it has kept an eloquent silence. With every retrograde step it resolves the conflict between Church and State by modifying its beliefs to harmonise with the State’s. That way, it thinks, those who worship God can go on pleasing man. In its recent guidelines for the 5000 schools in its care, it said ‘pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity and to explore the possibility of who they might be’. They should ‘be supported to accept their own gender identity or sexual orientation and that of others’. One diocese even issued a statement encouraging any who identify as transgender to consider becoming a priest.
The promotion of ‘gender dysphoria’ amongst children is not paedophilia, but it is child abuse just the same, and comes from the same stable (see here). The government has given transgender charity ‘Mermaids’ a grant to deliver training to teachers on how to transform their culture and make schools LGBT-inclusive. Drag queens are being invited in to tell children as young as four entertaining stories about how they might choose an LGBTI identity. Books that normalise homosexual parenthood reinforce the message: Heather has Two Mommies, Daddy, Papa and Me, And Tango Makes Three (the true story of two male penguins in a New York zoo that become parents), The Different Dragon (another book, as one favourable review put it, that doesn’t need to educate about same-sex parents but instead subtly includes them within the story), The Purim Superhero (the first Jewish children’s book with LGBT characters), 10,000 Dresses. In this last story Bailey longs to be a girl, and dreams of making magical dresses out of crystals, flowers and windows. There’s only problem: her parents. “You’re a boy!” they repeatedly tell ‘her’, misgendering and upsetting Bailey. But Bailey befriends an older girl who understands and adores ‘her’. They end the tale happily making dresses together, as Bailey becomes the girl ‘she’ always wanted to be.
- It used to presume that individuals were free subject to certain legal restrictions (the fundamental principle of the Magna Carta). Now the law presumes that the State has total authority over individuals but grants them limited freedoms.
- The law has steadily encroached into the private sphere, to the point of proposing that, in relation to ‘hate speech’, even private conversations be actionable (as per the Law Commission’s Consultation Paper 250).
- The State has extended its powers to claim authority over the Church (again contrary to the Magna Carta). The Church of England, founded in the Reformation, has always had an ambiguous relationship with the State. Constitutionally, however, the Government is appointed by the Crown (the monarch), and the monarch is anointed and granted authority by the Church, in the coronation service at Westminster Abbey. The State’s closure of churches during the spring outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent permissions for them to re-open subject to restrictions (congregations limited to a maximum 30 people, mask-wearing, no singing etc) represented a usurpation of the authority that the Church has directly from God.
UK government running ‘Orwellian’ unit to block release of ‘sensitive’ information
As reported by the openDemocracy website.
Art of Darkness: How the Government is Undermining Freedom of Information
Formal 38-page report analysing a large dataset of FoI requests.