With all the column inches and TV coverage given to the abortion debate in the Commons this week, this nearly slipped me by.
Lillian Ladele, 47, a marriage registrar for Islington Council, was threatened with the sack after refusing to preside over gay marriages on the grounds of her Christian faith.
“I am a Christian and I hold the orthodox Christian view that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life to the exclusion of all others and that this is the God-ordained place for sexual relations.
“A civil partnership is marriage in all but name. Regardless of my feelings for the participants, I feel unable to directly facilitate the formation of a union that I sincerely believe is contrary to God’s law.
“My beliefs do not mean I wish people who are homosexual to receive detrimental treatment. My God does not love anyone any less because of their sexual orientation.
“But the Bible explains that sin cannot be ignored, and it creates a problem for any Christian if they are expected to do or to condone something that they see as sinful.
“I cannot reconcile my faith with taking an active part enabling same sex unions to be formed as I believe this is contrary to God’s instruction that sexual relations belong exclusively between a man and a woman within marriage.”
“The council knows that if I am required to choose between my conscience and their desire that all registrars must undertake civil partnership duties, then I will have to honour my faith and face unemployment.”
The Daily Mail gives it some treatment here. It seems to me that this could be seen as an example of my last post; no doubt there have been much accusations thrown at Ms Ladele of gay-bashing, despite her seeming to explain her position clearly.
But more than that, it’s surely the denial of a Christian’s right to hold beliefs that actually affect their life. Doctors not being able to refuse to take abortions and nurses forced to practice euthanasia are two other examples that have probably come up or will come up. But aside from the debate about whether you can hold a job in which your beliefs greatly affect your capacity to complete the job, this does seem to highlight the de-Christianizing of our society, and specifically what it will look like for a Christian involved in that society.