“Though shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour”
Many reading this will already be aware of the recent court case that I was involved in, and its disturbing outcome. I was greatly helped by Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre, who were superb, and further information can be found here: Christian Concern cases.
Much was made in court of my account of having been asked by my line manager, at the UK Department for Work and Pensions, whether or not I would agree to call a man who was six foot tall with a beard “she” or “Mrs” if asked to do so. This man was purely hypothetical. My answer was “As a Christian, in good conscience, I cannot”. I lost my job.
Under oath, the line manager in question denied that this hypothetical man had ever existed, pitching his word against mine. The press, on the other hand, loved the reference, and many papers such as the Daily Mail wrote articles about the hypothetical man, in good faith that he did in fact exist. The judges took a different approach saying that due to a lack of evidence supplied by myself, “on the balance of probabilities” the hypothetical man had never existed. I allege without any hesitation that the hypothetical man really did exist.
Why does it even matter?
The judges’ assertion has had the effect of calling my integrity as a witness into question. Maybe I had misremembered, or even lied, about the whole thing? How could I be trusted on other matters?
Whether or not the hypothetical man really existed, it became very clear during the testimony in court of the DWP employers, that had I been presented with a real, non-hypothetical, man with the same request, that is exactly what I would be expected to do. They also expected such scenarios to arise and considered it impossible for anyone who would not comply with such a request to undertake meaningful employment with their organisation. There is a requirement you see, that doctors must use any pronoun, such as he, she, or theybe, just as the client instructs. My Christian conscience couldn’t handle this.
Asked why I could not just comply to keep people happy, I have to say that to call a man a woman is clearly a lie. No-one has proved otherwise. If I had been willing to lose my job for the sake of not sinning against God in this matter, why would I then go on to lie in court about the existence of a six foot tall, hypothetical, man with a beard? It would not make sense. It would be easier to lie about the hypothetical man in order to keep my job.
It may seem like a small matter, but I became deeply aware when the question was asked that if I agreed to keep the peace, I might keep my job, but lose my walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. We must strive to be faithful in order to walk with Him, and we should all be seeking to walk with Him.
I had spent much time thinking about this question of integrity and the use of pronouns, in advance of my interview with the line manager, and it was clear where the truth and where my duty to God lay. Even so, it was the grace of God, I believe, alone that sustained me.
We cannot fight the Lord’s battles in these days simply by complying with the world’s demands. May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with us all.
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