15 April 2010

another document crosses my view

In the USA I think this would be called an, "Amicus Curiae" or "Friend of the Court" brief. I gather that in English courts they are "Witness Statements." But this may be an error on my part, the two may be slightly different. In the event, this is a document by which Dr. Carey, formerly archbishop of Canterbury attempts to influence litigation. It is in my view from this side of the Atlantic pernicious. But then an English subject might think differently.

In brief, Dr. Carey is arguing that the Christians of England are being persecuted and to avoid legal judgments from courts and other government agencies hostile to them, require courts with judiciary and jurors who are themselves sympathetic to their cause. Wow!

Here, we have an extensive set of principals and rules designed to assure all sides, that the court hearing its case is an impartial agent of the law. The idea of an impartial court, something we got from England(!) is foundational. Without it, we Americans would not trust the courts to be arbiters of our disputes.

And yet, Dr. Carey seeks to toss that basic idea, the impartial court, over the side of the ship of State. To no one's surprise, he would do this to limit lbgt rights. Add to that, Dr. Williams' amazing idea that England should permit Sharia Law courts to assume jurisdiction in some civil cases, especially divorce, and you have a perfect storm of bad ideas. I do not know how England got to the point where two men who sit in its House of Lords Laws {oops} distrust its law but they appear at this remove to be there. Either they are wrong about the courts' ability to administer justice or they should be!
Lord CAREY of Clifton
1st Witness Statement
Exhibits [none]
9th April 2009
EAT Case No: 0106/09/DA
On appeal from the:
CLAIM No: 1401179/2008
Of LORD CAREY of Clifton
I, Lord Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury 1991-2002, of the House of Lords, London SW1A OPW WILL SAY AS FOLLOWS:
1. I was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991- 2002. I was the 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury and I was responsible for the spiritual welfare of 70 million Anglicans in the worldwide communion. I was created Lord Carey of Clifton upon retirement.
2. I have served in a number of theological colleges. I am the holder of M.th and PhD degrees. I was the Principle of Trinity Theological College, Bristol and was Bishop of Bath and Wells from 1988 – 1991. I am the Presentation Fellow of Kings College, London,
Fellow of Christ’s University College, Canterbury and Fellow of the Library of Congress. I am President of the London School of Theology. Until 2009, I was a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum and Co-Chair of the Council of 100, which is an interfaith body seeking reconciliation between the West and Islamic worlds. Currently, I am Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire and I am the recipient of 12 Honorary Degrees. I am the author of 14 books.
3. I make this Witness Statement in support of the appeal/ application of Gary McFarlane to the Court of Appeal for his case to be heard before the Lord Chief Justice (Lord Justice Judge) and a specially constituted Court of Appeal of five Lord Justices who have a proven sensitivity to religious issues. I believe that I have a sufficient interest in this case.
4. The facts contained in this Witness Statement are within my own knowledge. Where a fact is not within my own knowledge, I state the source and believe it to be true.
The Need for a Specially Constituted Court of Appeal:
The decision of the Court of Appeal in the cases of Ladele v Islington LBC:
5. I am bound by my commitments as former Archbishop of Canterbury to defend the spiritual requirements of the Anglican Communion and of all sincere Christians. I am also bound to consider the rights of religious minorities.
6. Recent decisions of the Courts have illuminated insensitivity to the interests and needs of the Christian community and represent disturbing Judgments. The effect of these decisions is to undermine the religious liberties that have existed in the United Kingdom for centuries. If there is to be a limitation of Christian liberties in Britain, this should be a matter for Parliament.
7. I am not a lawyer, but have taken an interest in these decisions. I have been advised that decisions in certain cases have made the following determinations.
8. In the recent case of Ladele v London Borough of Islington (MR, Dyson and Smith LJJ) (EAT Elias P), the Court of Appeal held:-
 Paragraph 45. It was a legitimate aim for Islington to have a policy ‘requiring all its employees to act in a way which does not discriminate against others’ and
 Paragraph 49 ‘permitting Ms Ladele to refuse to perform civil partnerships would necessarily undermine the Council’s clear commitment to ... their non discriminatory objectives ...’;
 Paragraph 39. The Court of Appeal held that the correct comparator with Ms. Ladele is ‘another registrar who refused to conduct civil partnership work because of an antipathy to the concept of same sex relationships, but which antipathy was not connected to or based upon his or her religious beliefs’
9. I wish to address these issues as a cleric and as a senior Churchman. In short, I wish to dispute that the manifestation of the Christian faith in relation to same sex unions is ‘discriminatory’ and contrary to the legitimate objectives of a public body. Further, I wish to dispute that such religious views are equivalent to a person who is, genuinely, a homophobe and disreputable. I will deal with these two issues.
10. The description of religious faith in relation to sexual ethics as ‘discriminatory’ is crude; and illuminates a lack of sensitivity to religious belief. The Christian message of ‘love’ does not demean or disparage any individual (regardless of sexual orientation); the desire of the Christian is to limit self destructive conduct by those of any sexual orientation and ensure the eternal future of an individual with the Lord.
11. The field of sexual ethics and Christian (and other religious) teaching on this subject is a field of complex theology for debate by the Church (and other religious) institutions. The vast majority of the more than 2 billion Christians would support the views held by Ms. Ladele. The descriptive word ‘discriminatory’ is unbefitting and it is regrettable that senior members of the Judiciary feel able to make such disparaging comments.
12. The comparison of a Christian, in effect, with a ‘bigot’ (ie. a person with an irrational dislike to homosexuals) begs further questions. It is further evidence of a disparaging attitude to the Christian faith and its values. In my view, the highest development of human spirituality is acceptance of Christ as saviour and adherence to Christian values.
This cannot be seen by the Courts of this land as comparable to the base and ignorant behaviour. My heart is in anguish at the spiritual state of this country.
13. It is, of course, but a short step from the dismissal of a sincere Christian from employment to a ‘religious bar’ to any employment by Christians. If Christian views on sexual ethics can be described as ‘discriminatory’, such views cannot be ‘worthy of respect in a democratic society’. An employer could dismiss a Christian, refuse to employ a Christian and actively undermine Christian beliefs. I believe that further Judicial decisions are likely to end up at this point and this is why I believe it is necessary to intervene now.
Ewedia v British Airways:
14. The recent decisions by the Courts on the right of Christian freedoms to wear Crosses appears to display a worrying lack of awareness of Christian religious and cultural manifestations. In Eweida v British Airways (Sedley, Carnwath and Smith LJJ) (Elias P in the EAT) the Court of Appeal held it reasonable for judges to be unaware that Christians wear Crosses visibly around their necks as a sign of fidelity to the Lord Jesus. The Court of Appeal held evidence of such a practice was required (paragraph 18).
15. In the recent Exeter Employment Tribunal case of Chaplin v Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, the Tribunal rejected the evidence of another nurse because she had removed her Cross upon instruction and has thereby not sustained a ‘particular’ disadvantage with the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003.
16. By letter to the Sunday Telegraph dated 28th March 2010, I wrote a letter jointly with Bishops of Winchester, Chester, Hereford, Blackburn, Litchfield and the former Bishop of Rochester expressing concern at the treatment of Christians by the Courts. I am confident that I have substantial support from those in the Church of England and other Christian denominations.
17. This type of ‘reasoning’ is dangerous to the social order and represents clear animus to Christian beliefs. The fact that senior clerics of the Church of England and other faiths feel compelled to intervene directly in judicial decisions and cases is illuminative of a future civil unrest.
18. I am concerned that judges are unaware of these basic issues on the Christian faith; further it is difficult to see how it is appropriate for other religions to be considered by the Judiciary where the practices are further removed from our traditions.
19. It is for this reason I support the application by Mr. McFarlane for his appeal to be heard under the direction of the Lord Chief Justice and a freshly constituted five member Court of Appeal.
20. Further, I appeal to the Lord Chief Justice to establish a specialist Panel of Judges designated to hear cases engaging religious rights. Such Judges should have a proven sensitivity and understanding of religious issues and I would be supportive of Judges of all faiths and denominations being allocated to such a Panel. The Judges engaged in the cases listed above should recuse themselves from further adjudication on such matters as they have made clear their lack of knowledge about the Christian faith.
Statement of Truth:
I believe that the facts contained in this Witness Statement are true.
Signed: Lord Carey of Clifton
Technorati Tags: Christian Legal Centre, discrimination, Lord Carey of Clifton, religion


drew said...

Is Carey close to right and is "Christian" a dirty word in Briton?

JimB said...

What my British friends tell me is that there is a group for whom, "Christian" means the same sort of homophobic fundygelical, creationist crud some think it means in the States. Among those people, yes, "Christian" is a derogative term.

Of course, those people are reacting against precisely the crud Carey preaches. So if it is true at that level, it is in part his own fault. He is complaining in other words because intelligent agnostics, like intelligent Christians, thinking he preaches prejudice and unscientific nonsense. I for one would have a hard time debating their view.


Christal said...

I love how the Archbishop of Canterbury says he is not a lawyer, but he has taken an interest in such matters...that makes me chuckle.

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