news from ekklesia

By staff writers
March 23, 2004

Bishop gives warning on equality law

-23/3/04

A Church of England bishop has warned religious organisations not to campaign too vociferously for exemptions from equality legislation.

David Walker, the Bishop of Dudley, warned that if faith-based groups campaigned too hard to be allowed to employ only those who shared their religious beliefs, they risked losing their special status in society reports the Guardian.

He told an audience at Keele University: "Government rightly continues to give faith-based organisations scope to claim exemption from aspects of equalities legislation.

"But if we are seen to be exploiting loopholes in order to operate policies that discriminate widely on grounds of religion or sexuality, then we are likely to find the law tightened up so that we lose the exemptions that are justifiable."

Some religious groups have campaigned hard and largely successfully in recent years to be exempted from equality legislation, so that they can discriminate against those who do not share their beliefs - even for jobs such as cleaners.

Critics however have suggested that that the church should practice what it preaches, and that it is hard to make a stand for justice when it is seen to be acting unjustly.

Seven trade unions, including the TUC, are challenging the government's decision to exempt the church from a European Union directive to ban discrimination against homosexuals in employment.

Bishop gives warning on equality law

-23/3/04

A Church of England bishop has warned religious organisations not to campaign too vociferously for exemptions from equality legislation.

David Walker, the Bishop of Dudley, warned that if faith-based groups campaigned too hard to be allowed to employ only those who shared their religious beliefs, they risked losing their special status in society reports the Guardian.

He told an audience at Keele University: "Government rightly continues to give faith-based organisations scope to claim exemption from aspects of equalities legislation.

"But if we are seen to be exploiting loopholes in order to operate policies that discriminate widely on grounds of religion or sexuality, then we are likely to find the law tightened up so that we lose the exemptions that are justifiable."

Some religious groups have campaigned hard and largely successfully in recent years to be exempted from equality legislation, so that they can discriminate against those who do not share their beliefs - even for jobs such as cleaners.

Critics however have suggested that that the church should practice what it preaches, and that it is hard to make a stand for justice when it is seen to be acting unjustly.

Seven trade unions, including the TUC, are challenging the government's decision to exempt the church from a European Union directive to ban discrimination against homosexuals in employment.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.