Gary McFarlaneGary McFarlane, a Christian counsellor from Bristol, has been dismissed from his position at Relate after raising concerns about advising same sex couples on directive sexual therapy. Mr McFarlane had counseled same sex partnerships, but when it came to directive sex therapy, he felt that he would be directly encouraging sexual sin  For several years he has been able to successfully counsel couples, helping them to restore their relationships. He has always received positive feedback from supervisors and clients.  In 2007 Mr McFarlane, whilst training as a sex therapist, discussed the potential conflict with his supervisor. However managers at Relate did not offer to accommodate Mr McFarlane’s position but instead suspended him in December 2007 for what they believed was a breach of the equal opportunities policy. As a result, Mr McFarlane lost all his clients and was unable to continue counselling. In January 2008 he was reinstated on the basis that he would conform to the equal opportunities policy with the proviso that he could mention his concerns about sexual counselling in the future. However, a short time after returning to his job, complaints were made by employees and Mr McFarlane was called into a disciplinary meeting and eventually dismissed in March 2008 after his employers concluded that he had failed to adhere to the equal opportunities policy. Mr McFarlane was not given an opportunity to discuss his views and no attempt was made to acccommodate his beliefs, despite his success as a couple’s counsellor.

Mr McFarlane also feels that the relationship of trust he shared with fellow employees was broken down after he discovered that details of his confidential discussions with his supervisor were leaked to other members of staff. Mr McFarlane became aware of a petition signed by twelve members of staff, demanding that he be removed from his position because of his views on sexual ethics. He was labelled ‘homophobic’ by fellow members of staff and treated in an increasingly hostile manner in the weeks before he was dismissed.

The Christian Legal Centre is supporting Mr McFarlane as he brings a claim at the Bristol Employment Tribunal.

Link to the Mail on Sunday article:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1080638/I-sacked-Relate—just-Im-Christian-refused-sex-advice-gay-couples.html

Christian radio presenter disciplined for appealing to freedom of expression
Reverend Masih presents a weekly Christian radio show for Asians on AWAZ Radio.  AWAZ FM is a community Radio Station that is licenced by OFCOM to serve the entire Asian Community (Christians, Muslims, Hindus and others).Reverend Masih hosts a ‘talk show’ on Saturday mornings and responds to questions from listeners.

A Muslim academic known as Dr. Zakir Naik is well known in the Asian community for his critical comments about Christianity; he has said that Jesus was not the only person who was ‘the way, the truth and the life’ but that every prophet was in their own way the way, the truth and the life.  One morning, a number of callers phoned into the programme and asked questions about Dr Naik’s comments on Christianity. Reverend Masih answered them in moderate and temporate terms and proclaimed Gospel Truth.  For many Muslims living in the United Kingdom, this might have been their only and first opportunity to hear about the Christian faith.

Some Muslim listeners, however, were offended by what Reverend Masih had said and a complaint was made to the radio station. Management staff asked the radio presenter to offer an apology for any offence which had been caused. The presenters were also asked to go to the mosque to apologise. After reading out the apology Reverend Masih added the words “We live in a free country and everybody has the right to express his/her opinion…” Subsequent to this, Reverend Masih was removed from his radio ‘talk show’.

Papers have been filed at the Employment Tribunal and lawyers at the Christian Legal Centre are supporting Reverend Masih as he seeks an answer for the way he was treated.   A formal complaint will be made to Ofcom that AWAZ FM is breaching the terms of its licence.

Police officer discriminated against for traditional beliefs
PC Graham Cogman, has taken his police force to an Employment Tribunal on grounds of harassment because of his traditional Christian values. PC Cogman, 49, from Sea Palling in North Norfolk, has been an officer with the Norfolk Police for 15 years, having previously served in the RAF for 12 years. 

PC Cogman is taking the unprecedented action as a serving policeman after a series of complaints and investigations suggesting he is ‘homophobic’ – something he strenuously denies.  He says that the ‘over the top’ promotion of homosexual rights within Norfolk Police makes being a Christian policeman, or an officer with traditional family values, extremely difficult, unless a person is prepared to ignore his or her conscience. He now faces a full disciplinary hearing at the end of November 2008 and is in fear of losing his job.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority challenged after granting licences to create hybrids
On the 8th of April 2008, the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) and Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE) filed papers seeking judicial review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s (HFEA) decision to grant licences to Newcastle University and King’s College London to use animal-human hybrids.
The legal challenge is on two grounds. First, CLC and CORE are arguing that the HFEA acted beyond its powers when it granted the licences because the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 does not permit licenses for the creation of animal human hybrids. Secondly, the 1990 HFE Act provides that licences cannot be granted unless the HFEA is satisfied that the research is necessary or desirable for one of a number of specified purposes and the HFEA is satisfied that any proposed use of embryos is necessary for the purposes of the research.
 
The CLC and CORE are arguing that the proposed techniques are unnecessary and undesirable as a result of technical advances and that the proposed techniques do not work and raise new scientific problems which will make the research meaningless.

There is no legal internal process either in the 1990 Act or in the new Bill for interested persons to object to or appeal against the grant of a license and ask for reconsideration. In view of this lack of public accountability, the only way of challenging the HFEA’s decisions is by way of judicial review.

The CLC and CORE have to be granted leave to proceed to a judicial review hearing. They are also applying for a protected costs order so that the court can decide whether to impose a limit on costs paid to the HFEA, if the challenge is unsuccessful. The court will consider these applications at an oral hearing before the end of the year. Please pray.

Links to media reports on the case
 
BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7323298.stm
 
Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-558337/Christian-group-launches– High-Court-bid-prove-creation- human-animal-embryos-illegal.html

BBC Radio 4 Today programme: http://www.ccfon.org/mediacentre.php?avid=59&avap=1
 
Links to lay summary of the Newcastle project and the King’s College Project
 
http://www.hfea.gov.uk/en/1652.html
http://www.hfea.gov.uk/en/1653.html

Eunice and Owen Johns seek clarification on Council’s sexual ethics policy for fostering and adoption
Eunice and Owen Johns have been reinstated by Derby City Council to the application process to foster children. We thank God for this. They are endeavouring to obtain up front clarification on Derby City Council’s policy regarding Christian couples who hold orthodox views on sexual ethics, their suitability to adopt and whether that view is compatible with the Council’s Equal Opportunities Policy.

Exeter Christian Union
The Christian Union is currently able to fully function within the University and Student Guild. We thank God for this. The CU and Guild remain in ongoing discussions regarding the application of Exeter Student Guild’s Equality and Diversity Policy to the Christian Union.

The Christian Legal Centre is supporting several other cases the details of which cannot be disclosed for legal reasons.
The Christian Legal Centre is willing to assist in cases dealing with life, marriage & the family and religious liberties. Please see our website for further details or contact us at info@christianlegalcentre.com
www.christianlegalcentre.com

Andrea Minichiello Williams

Christian Legal Centre

http://www.christianlegalcentre.com/


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