Christian doctor sues UK gov’t after he was fired for refusing to use transgender pronouns
BIRMINGHAM, England, July 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A Christian doctor is asking the British government to allow him to use pronouns for his patients that match their biological sex.
Dr. David Mackereth, who was fired by Britain’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) because he did not address so-called “transgender” claimants by their pronouns of choice, said after appearing before a tribunal on Tuesday that he wants "the right to practice medicine as a Christian doctor."
The father of four claims that DWP is in breach of the Equality Act and his right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. He had been with the National Health Service for 26 years.
Dr. Mackereth, 56, said using “transgender pronouns” violates his conscience. In 2018, he told The Telegraph, “I believe gender is defined by biology and genetics. And that as a Christian the Bible teaches us that God made humans male or female.”
He said he fears that Britain’s Equality Act 2010 endangers free speech for Christians. According to DWP, Mackereth’s failure to accommodate his patients’ pronoun preferences amounted to harassment, as defined by the Equality Act, and he was dismissed from his position as Health and Disability Assessor.
The Christian Legal Centre (CLC) is representing Mackereth and claims the DWP is in violation of the Equality Act for compelling him and other staff to use “transgender” pronouns.
In particular, CLC lawyers argue that DWP discriminated against Mackereth because of his Christian beliefs, including “his belief in the truth of the Bible,” which recounts that human beings are made in the image of God. According to CLC, “It follows that every person is created by God as either male or female. A person cannot change their sex/gender at will. Any attempt a , or pretence of, doing so, is pointless, self-destructive, and sinful.”
CLC chief executive Andrea Williams said in a release that the requirement to use so-called transgender pronouns “defies common sense and Christian faith” but serves to filter out “firm Christians and men of principle such as Dr. Mackereth.” She said that by giving away the “essential freedom of thought, conscience and religion” that “no other freedom is safe.”
“If freedom to tell the truth – in this case calling a man ‘he’ and a woman ‘she’ – is suppressed, then truth itself is suppressed,” Williams said.
In June 2018, Mackereth began work as a Health and Disability Assessor, having received intensive training for his role in DWP’s eligibility determinations for disability subsidies. After just a few days as an assessor, Mackereth was called in by James Owen of the APM employment agency, which had recruited him. Owen questioned Mackereth about comments he made during training, when he was told that his reports must refer to clients by the pronouns they choose, regardless of their biological sex.
According to CLC, Owen allegedly asked, “What would you do if you were to assess someone who is obviously a man but asks to be referred to as ‘she’ or ‘Missis’ in the report?” In response, Mackereth replied he could not use the preferred pronouns. Mackereth told Owen that as a Christian he believes that “gender is determined by biology and genetics,” and that he is not ashamed of his beliefs.
In a release from CLC, Mackereth recalled the example of Martin Luther, who said when confronted about his faith, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God. Here I stand, I can do no other. So help me God.” Mackereth was soon dismissed from his job.
According to CLC, Mackereth said physicians and society as a whole are “not allowed to say what we believe.” Moreover, he said his case shows that Britons are “not allowed to think what we believe” and “not allowed to defend what we believe.”
Expressing the stakes before the tribunal, he said, “Christians must be able to hold and express their faith in private and public and to uphold Biblical and scientific truths without fear of losing their livelihoods."
The DWP said it could not comment. Evidence is due to be submitted in the case on Wednesday.