Clergy to Quit if Dr John becomes Bishop

Wales Online is reporting the threat to resign of at least one senior clergyman in Bangor Diocese if Dr John becomes Bishop:

A SENIOR clergyman has threatened to quit rather than work alongside the man who could become the UK’s first openly gay bishop because he says homosexual acts are “sinful and wrong”.

Canon Peter Jones said he would consider his position should the Dean of St Albans, Dr Jeffrey John, become the new Bishop of Bangor.

Mr Jones, who is Vicar of Conwy in the diocese of Bangor, hinted the appointment of Dr John would lead many others to walk away from the Church in Wales.

However, both the Church in Wales and St Albans Diocese have been briefing yesterday that it’s very unlikely that Dr John will become Bishop. I’ve been told that sources in Wales are playing down the chance of Dr John moving to Bangor, but a careful reading of the press reports shows that all that is being said is "stop speculating" rather than "it won’t happen".

Here’s the Church in Wales’ spokesperson:

But a spokeswoman for the Church in Wales yesterday refused to comment on whether Dr John was in the running, saying nominations are not made until an electoral college of the church convenes to make the appointment. And she suggested the appointment was unlikely as the Church in Wales is subject to a moratorium – agreed at a recent conference in Lambeth – on the appointment of gay bishops that covers Anglican churches worldwide.

The Diocese of St Albans is more emphatic:

Reports in national newspapers that the clergyman, who celebrated a civil partnership ceremony with another priest two years ago, has been nominated for the Bangor post in North Wales were denied by St Albans Abbey spokesman Arun Kataria.

I think Mr Kataria misses the point. No nominations have yet been made – the issue is that it is very likely that Dr John will be nominated. The Welsh church however is seeming to say that it won’t get much further than that. Of course, once his name is in the hat it’s down to the electoral college to decide.

I was also pointed yesterday evening to the 2003 Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations, and in particular section seven:

 

Exception for genuine occupational requirement etc
7. – (1) In relation to discrimination falling within regulation 3 (discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation) –

 

(a) regulation 6(1)(a) or (c) does not apply to any employment;

(b) regulation 6(2)(b) or (c) does not apply to promotion or transfer to, or training for, any employment; and

(c) regulation 6(2)(d) does not apply to dismissal from any employment,

where paragraph (2) or (3) applies.

(2) This paragraph applies where, having regard to the nature of the employment or the context in which it is carried out –

(a) being of a particular sexual orientation is a genuine and determining occupational requirement;

(b) it is proportionate to apply that requirement in the particular case; and

(c) either –

(i) the person to whom that requirement is applied does not meet it, or

(ii) the employer is not satisfied, and in all the circumstances it is reasonable for him not to be satisfied, that that person meets it,

and this paragraph applies whether or not the employment is for purposes of an organised religion.

(3) This paragraph applies where –

(a) the employment is for purposes of an organised religion;

(b) the employer applies a requirement related to sexual orientation –

(i) so as to comply with the doctrines of the religion, or

(ii) because of the nature of the employment and the context in which it is carried out, so as to avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religion’s followers; and

(c) either –

(i) the person to whom that requirement is applied does not meet it, or

(ii) the employer is not satisfied, and in all the circumstances it is reasonable for him not to be satisfied, that that person meets it.

d in all the circumstances it is reasonable for him not to be satisfied, that that person meets it.

Section 7.3 is the clincher – is there a good legal ground to not allow Dr John to be Bishop?

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