Richard Hall at Connexions points to a statement from the Evangelical Alliance (the UK’s version of the National Association of Evangelicals). The EA take a much more measured approach to the situation in which Derby Council appeared to rule that a couple could be denied to foster if a couple believe homosexuality is a sin. Other Christian news sources began decrying discrimination and some even shouted persecution when this came out. In actually, there was no case decided as it was all hypothetical. Here are a few paragraphs from the EA’s statement (click here for full statement):
It is highly questionable whether British courts of law should be used as forums for debating the pros and cons of conflicting human rights created by equalities legislation. Instead, they should only be used to resolve disputed points of law based on evidence.
The Evangelical Alliance expresses doubt about the wisdom in bringing such cases to the High Court in the first place. While there is no doubt that equality laws appear increasingly controversial in the way they seem to disproportionately impact against Christians, there is a clear need for a more cautious and strategic approach when deciding to take matters to court.
Dr Don Horrocks, Head of Public Affairs at the Alliance, said: “We all need to be more clued-up in deciding if and when to fight legal battles. Of course there are occasions when defending religious liberty in the courts is entirely appropriate and if there is evidence of fundamental unfairness in the interpretation of equalities legislation then this needs to be addressed by government.
“However, it is counterproductive to provoke the courts into unnecessary and unhelpful rulings – especially when a case is weak and evidence is lacking. There may also be risks that Christians will be viewed as deliberately engineering conflicts with the courts or pleading privileged treatment.”
I applaud the EA’s call for a much more thoughtful debate about public issues rather than the ‘saber-rattling’ that we often hear from Christians (I think Richard used that phrase on his blog, and I think that’s a great description!).