The Equality Bill is currently going through Parliament and there is an important vote in the House of Lords scheduled for January 14th. Equality is of course a very big subject with competing rights and responsibilities in a society like ours and to provide legislation must be very challenging.
One area of the proposed Bill is causing great concern for Christians and people of other religions. It is the right of faith based groups to employ people (paid or unpaid) who share their beliefs. The new Bill seeks to allow faith groups to exclusively employ those who share their beliefs only when the role will be substantially concerned with doctrine or worship. The hope of the legislators is that these exceptions, first listed in the 2003 Bill will be considerably restricted.
If the Bill becomes law in its present state it will have huge implications for large churches, Christian organisations and Christian charities. Christian groups employing, youth workers, centre managers and people in a host of other roles will be unable to discriminate against a person living an unbiblical lifestyle. Cases like this where a gay man won a case against the Church of England after he had been turned down for a job as a youth worker on account of his sexuality, will only increase.
If you are a UK citizen and would like to express an objection, there is an online petition on the Number 10 website, please click on the link here. It is very easy to fill in and though the petition will run for three months the organisers are keen to register as many as possible before the crucial vote in the Lords.