Christian Magistrate Loses Conscientious Objection Appeal: Accuses Britain of “Totalitarianism”
By Hilary White
LEEDS, February 25, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Earlier this month, a Christian magistrate lost his second and final appeal in a suit in which he claimed his employer had discriminated against him because of his religious conviction that adoptive children ought not to be placed with homosexuals. Andrew McClintock told LifeSiteNews.com today that, despite the ruling, the case had been well worth pursuing for the awareness of the issues it had raised.
Mr. McClintock resigned from the South Yorkshire Courts Panel after being informed he would not be allowed to opt-out of cases that he felt would conflict with his religious views. He launched an unfair dismissal suit in March 2007, saying he ought to have been excused from adjudicating such cases as a conscientious objector.
McClintock told LifeSiteNews.com that there is "huge discontent with the push to change our national values. There are moves being made now to counteract it and one hopes it will snowball."
Mr. McClintock, a magistrate with 18 years experience on the South Yorkshire bench, was forced to resign from the family courts panel when regulations came in place last year prohibiting "discrimination" against homosexuals in the provision of goods and services. He will continue to serve as a magistrate but will no longer be involved in family cases.
McClintock told LifeSiteNews.com that the case has created "ripples in the pool" of public opinion that are spreading in all directions. The point, he said, was to challenge people not to continue to "quietly endure" the erosion of traditional British and Christian values.
"I’m convinced that people who hold traditional views are in the majority," he said. He described the "thousands" of emails and messages of support he has received from the public.
Lord Justice Mummery of the Appeals Court said that "gay couples have human rights too" and refused permission to appeal. He said Mr. McClintock’s suit was not a case of pure religious discrimination and that his concerns focused instead on the lack of attention paid by the Employment Tribunal to evidence of the ill effects on children of being raised in a homosexual household.
The loss of the case will have a double effect Mr. McClintock said. It will mean, he said, that more children are going to be placed with homosexuals, despite the "considerable concerns" of experts about the effects on children. "More young lives will enter into risky situations."
In the larger sense, the loss of the appeal will mean that others who have conscientious objections to the homosexual movement, "who would have been given some solid ground for refusing to go with the flow haven’t got that solid ground."
The Christian principles that form the basis of British law and culture, he said, are being systematically undermined by new laws that have no basis in that tradition.
He described a massive change in the legal structure of Britain that has been implemented since the beginning of the Blair government in 1997. Quoting another judge, he said that in the last ten years, more activities had been criminalized than had been in the previous thousand years of British legal history. He said, "It’s reaching the point where people are afraid of voicing certain points of view, more than there was even five years ago."
It is, he said, a "shocking" state of affairs for a nation that was once hailed as the "cradle of democracy" to be suffering such a chilling effect on public discourse. "This government, under Tony Blair and now Gordon Brown, with its draconian new laws, is repressing our national character to have a robust debate. There is no debate on these changes. You simply go to bed on Friday night and the law is one thing, wake up on Monday morning and it’s something else."
He described the loud national debate that in previous decades had surrounded changes to the laws on abortion and capital punishment. This debate, he said, has been deadened to nothing today. "All the politically correct changes have gone through on a nod."
"I would say unquestionably that there is a weakening of our democracy, that there is a totalitarian element. And I use that word quite advisedly. Our civil freedoms and our quality of life are being threatened."
The general trend, he said, is at its root a failure to understand the Christian foundation of the civil liberties, and civil freedoms of the western democracies. "They take the advantages of a Christian civilization for granted and don’t see the connections between the institutions the world values and see the Christianity at the bottom of it. All the values, like tolerance, come from Christianity. Now that Christianity is diluted, all the things that go along with it, including democratic freedoms, are also being diluted".
He said that if nothing else was accomplished with his case, the publicity has motivated people to become aware and active. "People are now ceasing to sit down under it; an increasing number of people are challenging it."
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
British Family Court Judge Forced to Resign Rather than Participate in Homosexual Adoptions