The British Humanist Association has responded to a statement made in the Court of Appeal by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey - saying it is offensive to Christians.
Lord Carey claimed that 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 civil unrest."
The former archbishop says he wants special "religion sensitive" judges to enable Christians who do not wish to recognise equal rights for gay people to receive favourable treatment in discrimination cases.
But Naomi Phillips, BHA Head of Public Affairs, responded: "Lord Carey's distinction between religious and 'real' homophobes is false, and should hold no weight in the decisions of our judiciary. He is asking for two laws, one that permits Christians to behave as they want in the workplace, even refusing to provide gay people a public service, and one for everyone else."
She added: "Lord Carey’s contention that the vast majority of Christians would agree with him that is particularly offensive, not least to the millions of gay and lesbian Christians in this country and around the world whose lifestyles he describes as 'self destructive conduct'."
Ms Phillips added: "The further suggestions in Lord Carey's statement that recent court judgments which have not upheld claims of unlawful discrimination against Christians in the workplace are a threat to the social order and a step away from barring Christians from any employment is scaremongering, and a desperate cry from those unrepresentative few who are trying to retain the kind of privileges for religion that have no place in our society."