The European Union is proposing a directive to outlaw discrimination on grounds including sexual orientation and religion in the provision of goods or services. Similar laws in the UK and other nations have caused serious erosion of religious liberty and the exclusion of Christianity from public places. This Directive will mean that ‘homosexual rights’ and secular values will govern how Christian organisations provide goods and services to the public. The Directive could mean that a Christian-owned guest house would be forced to provide double rooms to homosexual couples. Or a town council could cease to fund a Christian community project because it may be viewed as favouring one religion over another. A ‘harassment’ provision within the Directive may also affect how Christians communicate their religious beliefs while providing a good or service. Although the UK already has ‘goods and services’ discrimination laws, this Directive could make the British situation even worse.
The Directive is currently in draft form. Its official title is “Proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation” (COM (2008) 426). The proposed Directive is currently under consideration by the Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee. When it reports back with an analysis and any suggested amendments, MEPs will vote on its conclusions and the Council can begin to consider whether to adopt, amend or reject the Directive. This is expected to take place early in 2009. This directive, if it comes into play, will seriously affect issues such as free speech and the right to express religious views.
This proposal has great potential to interfere with religious liberty and free speech. It also hands power to Brussels to control important aspects of discrimination law. PLEASE visit http://www.christian.org.uk/ in order to stay informed. It is vital that Christians keep up-to-date with the latest news about the Directive. The Christian Institute is actively working to defend religious liberty. There will be crucial moments when Christians need to act. Please contact them and they will keep you informed about the campaign and how you can help.
Tel: (from UK) 0191 281 5664
Tel: (from EU) +44 191 281 5664
Please write to The Christian Institute and ask them to send you a letter detailing how you can write to your MEP and ask that the directive for religion and sexual orientation be dropped from the proposed discrimination Directive, whilst retaining disability.
To download an introductory briefing click HERE.