When Persecution Really Is Just Sour Grapes Over Loss Of Privilege

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.


4 thoughts on “When Persecution Really Is Just Sour Grapes Over Loss Of Privilege

  1. Yep, there are PLENTY of people who are being discriminated against (many threatened to the level of persecution), but from everything I’ve seen, it’s not the christian populations on the receiving end; the radical, fundamental religious people (of both christian and islam) are actually dispensing the discrimination & persecution.

    As for that counselor, if he had been counseling same-sex partners previously? I’d question his money motives in terms of looking for a quick/easy meal ticket. Too bad he doesn’t live in an existence 30 years ago – he might have stood a chance…teehee.

  2. Your comment that Christians in the UK and the US are not a subject to persecution is irresponsibly false and misleading. I can state many cases of real Persecution.
    However, this case does not qualify. I agree with you. If he cannot do the job he was hired for then he should be let go.
    With every lifestyle decision you make there comes with it certain consequences. If you do not like the consequences, do noy make the decision to live that way. I am a Christian and will not belly-ache or cry because someone else doesn’t like it. if they do not like me because of that decision, hey it comes with the territory.
    Your statement “this is simply refusing to allow superstitions and ancient texts to dictate what is right and what is wrong.”
    Is just as far from the truth as the man claiming to be persecuted because of religious bias. Fact is religion or lack of religion has nothing to do with this.
    It is simply a matter of a job description.
    No one had in mind to persecute that person because of religion and no one had in mind “we will on purpose not follow ancient text.” Probably only thing on their minds was to help clients.
    I apologize for gramatical error. My keyboard is behaving poorly.

    • My take on doctors who refuse to treat people who won’t get their children vaccinated is that if the parents are adamant that they will not vaccinate their children, the doctor has a obligation to his other patients not to expose them to the possible risk of a dangerous disease that could seriously injure, or even kill, an infant or other child too young to be vaccinated. Sadly, this kind of thing has already happened in California where an infant contracted pertussis (whooping cough) from an unvaccinated individual and died.

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