Good Grief

The first priest to marry his same-sex partner has begun a discrimination case against the Church of England over its withdrawal of his right to officiate as a priest following the union.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton, who married Laurence Cunnington in April 2014, had been informed that Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS trust was withdrawing an offer of a job after Bishop Richard Inwood refused him the official licence in the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham.

The clergyman, who argues that Inwood unlawfully discriminated against him, told the first day of hearings at Nottingham employment tribunal how he felt after his permission to officiate (PTO) was revoked.

“PTOs are (only) really revoked if someone has done something serious, they’re criminally involved, is involved in an affair or has lost their capacity,” said Pemberton, the Lincolnshire Echo reported.

A spokesman for the Church of England said the church has no truck with homophobia and supports clergy who are in civil partnerships.

He added: “The Church of England’s doctrine on marriage is clear. The church quite reasonably expects its clergy to honour their commitment to model and live up to the teachings of the church. Clergy do not have the option of treating the teachings of the church as an à la carte menu and only modelling those with which they personally agree.

If you’re going to be an official of the club, officiate in the club, it’s hardly too much to ask that you follow the rules of the club, is it?

Bit like a footie ref insisting he’ll have no truck with the offside laws. Not quite the point of him being there, is it?

25 thoughts on “Good Grief”

  1. A question: as a matter of Law is he taking action against the right body anyway? The job was advertised by the NHS trust. The Trust set the requirement for the applicant to be “in good standing”. Being “in good standing” isn’t specific to having a job; it’s a general requirement of the church. An atheist or Muslim or Jew could not be ‘In good standing’ with he CofE either.

    I don’t know the answer; I’m asking the question.

  2. And the church should obey the law of the land. Romans 13:1.
    If they don’t like the law then maybe the law should be changed, but under no circumstances should a special exemption for sky-fairy cults be made. Where’s my special exemption?

    Sunday closing laws in Germany? Apply them to the church too. Fucking hypocrites.

  3. BinG

    Hey, I wasn’t the guy that cut you up on the way to work this morning; let it go!

    I posed the question, is it the law of the land that a man (or woman) in a same sex marriage must still be ‘in good standing’ with their church? I ask because the church didn’t and doesn’t employ him.

  4. I don’t usually go for extreme expels, they make for bad argument, but:-

    Wouldn’t it once have been against the Law of the Land in Germany to provide Jews with a hiding place?

  5. If they don’t like the law then maybe the law should be changed, but under no circumstances should a special exemption for sky-fairy cults be made.

    This is the problem with trying to use the sledgehammer of the law to deal with every issue that may arise. My employer cannot fire me because I profess to be a supporter of hydraulic fracking and Arctic drilling. However, Greenpeace would be quite justified to reject my application as CEO on the grounds that I would promote hydraulic fracking and Arctic drilling should I be successful. They would quite rightly decide that my views were incompatible with the raison d’etre of the organisation itself, or at the very least ran contrary to its core values.

    The Church doesn’t have any special exemption: it is simply applying the same criteria any other organisation would, only they have the misfortune of dealing with a touchy subject which their opponents like to use to beat them around the head.

  6. @Tim, the law says you can’t take someone’s gayness level into consideration when considering them for a job. Unless you’re the church.

    That is exactly the same problem as Ironmans Jewish example. The law in Germany at that time treated Jews and not-Jews differently. The law in the UK currently (and in Germany) treats the Church differently to other institutions. The principle of equality before the law is thereby tossed into the bin – and Ironman’s example shows how dangerous not being equal before the law can get.

  7. Yes indeed Tim. It’s the difference between laws for the public protection and maintenance of order (against murder, theft, etc) and Proggie laws intended to hammer ‘accepted’ political views onto those who don’t agree with them.

  8. Also the gay vicar thing has been going on for, like, ever. William II and the Bishop of Durham had a thing going on in 1080s, didn’t they? The church’s problem isn’t with people lying with man as with woman, but with people being honest about it. Yet more hypocrisy.

  9. The Church doesn’t have any special exemption

    Schedule 9 Part 1 Paragraph 2 of the Equality Act provides an exemption covering “Religious requirements relating to sex, marriage etc., sexual orientation”

    is he taking action against the right body anyway?

    The NHS requirements for appointment to a chaplaincy include “You will … require a satisfactory recommendation and authorisation by your faith community to gain entry.” It’s hard to see how that could be construed as unlawful.

    Pemberton’s position as a Canon of the Church of England may (I don’t know) qualify as a Personal Office under Section 49 of the Equality Act, in which case the refusal to grant a Permission to Officiate may breach its requirements. However, this would be covered by the religious exemption, so I can’t see how Pemberton has a case. But I am not a lawyer, and his lawyers are.

    If you’re going to be an official of the club, officiate in the club, it’s hardly too much to ask that you follow the rules of the club, is it?
    Which rule are you referring to?

  10. Cut the shite Biggie–

    “The law in Germany at that time treated Jews and not-Jews differently. The law in the UK currently (and in Germany) treats the Church differently to other institutions. The principle of equality before the law is thereby tossed into the bin – and Ironman’s example shows how dangerous not being equal before the law can get.”

    Notice how neatly he twists the question into “equality before the law”. Here’s the real question lawcrawler–If Adolf put thro a law that specifically tells you to actively persecute anybody–are you going to obey that law–cos its the LAAWWWW–or are you going to do your conscience and tell them to fuck off. Never mind equality before the fucking law.

  11. the law says you can’t take someone’s gayness level into consideration when considering them for a job. Unless you’re the church.

    Yes, and the law says you’re not allowed to discriminate on the grounds of sex but we don’t hear people use the term “exemption” for those running tests on products for pregnant women, do we? Or film studios, model agencies, makeup laboratories, childbirth counselors, etc. There are umpteen examples of the discrimination laws not being applied because to do so would severely disrupt the purpose of the enterprise.

  12. Schedule 9 Part 1 Paragraph 2 of the Equality Act provides an exemption covering “Religious requirements relating to sex, marriage etc., sexual orientation”

    There is no Schedule 9 Part 1 Paragraph 2 of the Equality Act

  13. There are also a shitload of other, common-sense “exemptions” which apply basically because the Act would be a load of unworkable nonsense without them. “Special exemption” indeed.

  14. @Ecks, Well I’m quite sure you’d enjoy getting a bit of persecution in.

    Back OT, are these gentlemen’s names made up?

  15. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “William II and the Bishop of Durham had a thing going on in 1080s, didn’t they?”

    No they didn’t. There weren’t any Gay people in the past and there are, to all intents and purposes, none now. Well, apart from the clergy of the CoE.

    “The church’s problem isn’t with people lying with man as with woman, but with people being honest about it. Yet more hypocrisy.”

    I think you will find they had a problem with homosexuals. To the point of executing them. Whether they were honest about it or not.

    But we see the totalitarian nature of the Leftists like BiG. He wants people locked up for believing what all their ancestors have believed for the past 2000 years. There is only one ending to this. Either we are jailed. Or they are. Toleration was a mistake. Homosexuality should be re-criminalised.

  16. Yet more typical BS from SMBS. I doubt there’s even any point in pointing out I don’t want people locked up for holding demonstrably silly beliefs – maybe I do want to lock people up for imposing those beliefs. And doubtless even SMBS would agree that RoPers who try to impose their beliefs on us should be locked up.

    Even less point in pointing out that the Brits didn’t have Christianity 2000 years ago. That’s a level of ignorance worthy of the MP who claimed that if the Book of Common Prayer was good enough for Saint Paul it was good enough for him. Those who think the church should get special exemptions from the law are referred again to Romans 13.

  17. So Biggie let me put you a case.

    They change the law so that pissing in the street is no longer a crime.They declare it is now totally acceptable behaviour. You can piss anywhere you like, just whip it out/drop yer knickers and slash away regardless of who is there, watching, who might see you etc.

    There is an exemption for private property.

    Some zealot pisser decides that is not enough. He wants to walk thro’ your house Biggie and piss on your expensive Persian rugs whenever he feels like it. Who are these reactionary types, these well-off Blokes In Germany who tell him there are “private” areas he can’t piss in. Private property=unequal before the Law. You can piss on your Persian rugs but he can’t? No one is going to make a second class citizen out of Mr Piss. So off to court you go Biggie. If he wins he and his pals will ensure that your once lovely home will assault your nostrills like an ancient pissoir as you paddle through your hallways. But what is that compared to equality before the Law.

    Leaving aside questions of divinity, the CoE is a private club of self-selected members (those put in or under its influence by their parents etc can easily leave). The hierarchy of that club even more so. Their rules do not allow for the chosen lifestyle of the two in question. So the either give up their lifestyle or their membership of the Church hierarchy. There is nothing to stop them being ordinary members of the congregation. There is nothing to stop them founding their own Church of Sodomy if they like and see what God has to say about it later–or not as the case may be.

    These two must leave voluntarily or be sacked. That’s it.

  18. The modern Church is what it is largely as a result of a series of rebellions by people who refused to obey the rules but insisted on staying in the Church. Sometimes this behaviour creates a minor heresy that dies out; sometimes it ends up becoming mainstream. This process is how the Church evolves. That has generally been a force for progress.

    Whether this is one of the good cases or just some nutter who will be forgotten, I have no idea, and don’t much care. But I’m not convinced by the idea that a priest must obey the rules of their Church. Looking back across history, thank God so many of them didn’t.

  19. SQ2: What you say is true but what usually follows is schism. Martin Luther didn’t stay in the Catholic Church. There is nothing to stop these two founding their own Church under their own rules. If L Ron Hubbard can do it why not others?

  20. > There is nothing to stop these two founding their own Church under their own rules.

    As I’ve said before, in their position, that’s what I’d do. But for some people staying in the group appears to be all-important.

    > what usually follows is schism.

    Sometimes. I’m not sure about usually. The big changes lead to schisms, but there have been thousands of little ones.

    The idea that plebs may read and comprehend The Bible for themselves instead of having it filtered through priests, let’s remember, came from a rebellious monk refusing to obey the rules.

  21. There is no CoE rule against being homosexual, or in a civil partnership, or in a same-sex marriage. Indeed, Pemberton has a Permission to Officiate in his current job. The refusal to grant the Permission for Pemberton’s new job was a judgment decision by the then Bishop, not a reading from the CoE rulebook.

    …this would be covered by the religious exemption…
    On second thoughts, there might be a loophole in that. There’s a list of exempted requirements, including “a requirement not to be married or a civil partner” and “a requirement related to sexual orientation”. It could be argued that that doesn’t extent to “a requirement not to be married to a person of the same sex”.

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