Writing to my MP
I find employment law simultaneously incredibly boring and incredibly important. As an employee and trustee of Brickhill Baptist Church, Bedford I feel I ought to be aware of what is going on. Or at least I feel that when someone jabs me in the ribs and reminds me of this.
So an email arrived today from CARE expressing concerns about the Equality Bill currently being discussed in parliament. According to Care Today,
One problem with the Bill relates to employment and its restriction of the freedom of faith-based bodies to discriminate against job applicants who are not living in line with church teaching. Whilst the Bill doesn’t narrow the freedom of churches to insist that a role is filled by a Christian, it removes their right to define what being a Christian means in terms of sexual ethics, unless the job is wholly or mainly concerned with leading liturgy or explaining doctrine. (Page 5)
It was suggested that writing to my MP would be helpful, so here's what I wrote to Patrick Hall using the service writetothem.com:
Dear Patrick Hall,I am writing to ask that you consider supporting David Drew MP's Report Stage amendment 37 to Schedule 9 of the Equality Bill.As an employee and trustee of a faith organisation (Brickhill Baptist Church) I am concerned that this particular aspect of the bill (I am told it is Schedule 9, Part 2, Sub-section 8) could have a detrimental affect on the work of faith organisations.As a member of the Labour Party, with its defined values and beliefs, I'm sure you appreciate the need for coherence within an organisation. I agree that most organisations should not consider lifestyle issues when offering or terminating employment but such is the holistic nature of the work of faith organisations that lifestyle issues are intrinsically related to many jobs, not just the kind of role currently defined in the above-mentioned sub-section. I can see how the wording of the bill is being shaped to try to keep all sides happy but I would humbly suggest that the balance isn't quite right yet.We love our town and we are here to do it as much good as we can, please will you help us to continue with this?Many thanks for your time
If you agree with what I've said (and I pretty much think that I do) then you might want to do something similar.
Some briefly-considered other thoughts:
- I am against discrimination because I think God's love is indiscriminate (I wouldn't be saved otherwise) and I don't want to be discriminated against. It isn't contradictory to hold this position and write the above letter.
- Working this through UK legislation should be a tortuous process because there are a lot of people here. That's not a bad thing and I thank God for people who roll their sleeves up and get to work on it.
- Churches should be really careful that sexual behaviour isn't the only issue they consider.
- Jeremiah 29:7 gives a principle for Christians today, this is one of the many ways to work it out I think: "But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare."