Will it be illegal to laud Christian Printers?
A press release from the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship last night had the following section in it:
The SORs leave a crucial gap in the protection of vicars and minister so that it will be illegal under Regulation 11 for them to teach their congregation that they should follow the Bibleâ€™s teaching on sexual morality even where this conflicts with the SORs. For example, it would be illegal for a vicar to cite the example of a Christian printing company asked to print material promoting homosexuality, and then say â€˜it is better to follow the Bibleâ€™s teaching and risk being sued than to be complicit in sin by printing leaflets promoting gay prideâ€™.
These are the relevant parts of the mainland SORS:
(a) to instruct another to discriminate unlawfully, (b) to cause or attempt to cause another to discriminate unlawfully, or (c) to induce or attempt to induce another to discriminate unlawfully.
(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(c) inducement may be direct or indirect. (3) In this regulation a reference to unlawful discrimination is a reference to discrimination which is unlawful by virtue of any of regulations 4 to 8. (4) Proceedings in respect of a contravention of this regulation may be brought onlyâ€”
(a) to practise a religion or belief,
(b) to advance a religion or belief,
(c) to teach the practice or principles of a religion or belief,
(d) to enable persons of a religion or belief to receive any benefit, or to engage in any activity, within the framework of that religion or belief.
(a) to an organisation whose sole or main purpose is commercial,
(b) in relation to regulation 7 (Educational establishments, local educational authorities, and education authorities).
(3) Nothing in these Regulations shall make it unlawful for an organisation to which this regulation applies, or for anyone acting on behalf of or under the auspices of an organisation to which this regulation appliesâ€”
(a) to restrict membership of the organisation,
(b) to restrict participation in activities undertaken by the organisation or on its behalf or under its auspices,
(c) to restrict the provision of goods, facilities or services in the course of activities undertaken by the organisation or on its behalf or under its auspices, or
(d) to restrict the use or disposal of premises owned or controlled by the organisation,
(4) Nothing in these Regulations shall make it unlawful for a ministerâ€”
(a) to restrict participation in activities carried on in the performance of his functions in connection with or in respect of an organisation to which this regulation relates, or
(b) to restrict the provision of goods, facilities or services in the course of activities carried on in the performance of his functions in connection with or in respect of an organisation to which this regulation relates,
(5) Paragraphs (3) and (4) permit a restriction only if imposed â€”
(a) if it is necessary to comply with the doctrine of the organisation; or
(b) so as to avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religion’s followers.
(a) performs functions in connection with a religion or belief to which an organisation, to which this regulation applies, relates; and
(b) holds an office or appointment in, or is accredited, approved or recognised for purposes of, an organisation to which this regulation applies.
(7) For the purposes of paragraph (3)(d), “disposal” shall not include disposal of an interest in premises by way of sale where the interest being disposed of is the entirety of the organisation’s interest in the premises, or the entirety of the interest in respect of which the organisation has power of disposal.
(8) This regulation does not apply where an organisation of the kind referred to in paragraph (1) or any person acting on its behalf or under its auspicesâ€”
(a) makes provision of a kind referred to in regulation 4, or
(b) exercises a function of a kind referred to in regulation 8,
<on behalf of a public authority under the terms of a contract for provision of that kind between that authority and an organisation referred to in paragraph (1) or, if different, the person making that provision.
I know that one or two of you reading this are lawyers of one ilk or the other. Any comments as to whether the LCF have a point?