According to an article in the daily Telegraph in the U.K., Gary McFarlane,, a relationship counsellor, was fired after refusing to work with same-sex couples because he said that it violated his religious beliefs. The funny things is that he had counseled same-sex couples in the past. He challenged his dismissal in court saying that counseling same-sex couples forced him to go against the Bible’s teachings and that his firing was religious discrimination. He said that his treatment was an example of Christians being persecuted in modern Britain.
I think Mr. McFarlane needs to read up on his British history. About 500 years ago, Catholics were being burned at the stake just for being Catholic. Now that is persecution. Getting fired for refusing to do your job isn’t.
He had counseled same-sex couples in the past, but it was only after he qualified as a psychosexual therapist that he felt that his religious beliefs wouldn’t allow him to counsel same-sex couples about sex. He then told his employer this and his fellow counsellors said that his views were homophobic, and he was sacked.
I will give the man the benefit of the doubt and say that he probably wasn’t homophobic given his work with same-sex couples in the past, but still, if his employer requires that their employees treat all couples, regardless of gender make up, then it is their right to terminate the employment of anyone who can’t carry out those duties.
I don’t buy into the idea that you can be trained in a field where you are providing a service to customers and then refuse to provide those services to certain customers because you don’t agree with some aspect of the treatment due your beliefs. We’ve seen this here in the U.S. with pharmacists refusing to provide the morning-after pill or birth control pills to patients. This is just unacceptable
What if a fireman refused to rescue people from an abortion clinic because he was anti-abortion? Or a doctor who refuses to operate on a person because they are Jewish or Black? Society doesn’t stand for these things and there is no reason to expect any different from councilors, pharmacists, or other care providers. If you are going to pursue a career where you have to provide services to people, then you need to be prepared to provide those services to everyone. If your conscience won’t let you do it, then it is time to change careers.
Refusing these services to certain groups of people because your don’t agree with their lifestyle or the particular treatment is bad enough, but to then claim discrimination is beyond the pale. It is an example of a usually privileged class of person who suddenly finds that that privilege is no longer extended to them. To say that getting fired for essentially refusing to do your job is persecution is the hight of arrogance.
A Christian nurse lost her job because she refused to stop wearing a crucifix around her neck. She was told that it posed a health and safety hazard. She claimed religious discrimination. There are plenty of jobs where the wearing of jewelry is forbidden for safety and health reasons and hers was one of them. To claim discrimination is simply wrong and presumptuous.
There was the Christian doctor who was removed from an adoption panel because she wanted to abstain from making decisions about same-sex couples adoptions. This is completely unreasonable. If you can’t do the job as it is intended, then you shouldn’t be allowed to do it at all.
One of these people, after a judgement didn’t go their way, said, “This is a very bad day for Christianity.”
How incredibly arrogant to presume that these decisions are motivated by anti-Christian biases. The real issue is that the dogmatic teachings of Christianity (and other religions like Islam) are no longer relevant or acceptable in today’s society. If religious believers insist on hanging onto their outdated notions of who is good and who isn’t, they will continued to be marginalized in society. This is not persecution, this is simply refusing to allow superstitions and ancient texts to dictate what is right and what is wrong. Morals are something that are agreed upon by a society as a whole, not by fiat by some Pope or elders or, worse, some 2000 – 3000 year old text written by goat herders and religious fanatics.
Christians aren’t being persecuted in the U.K. or the U.S. They need to wake up and look around them. There are countries where people are persecuted for their religious beliefs, but they aren’t being fired from jobs, they are being beaten and killed, or herded into ghettos. These people need to face up to the fact, just as whites in the southern U.S. did 50 years ago, that their days of unquestioned privilege are over.