UK Prime Minister, David Cameron’s promise to protect churches from gay marriage laws could hit legal hurdles, a Justice Minister admitted yesterday. Crispin Blunt said it would be hard to guarantee that clergy would not face court challenges if they refused to preside over same-sex unions. ‘We’re seeking to protect, indeed, proscribe religious organisations from offering gay marriage’, said Mr. Blunt, who announced two years ago that he is gay.
‘That may be problematic legally, but the proposals the Government are putting forward is that marriage should be equal in the eyes of the state, whether it’s between a same-sex couple or between a man and a woman. We’ll have to see what happens with that’. Mr. Blunt’s comments appear to undermine reassurances from both Downing Street and Home Secretary Theresa May that churches will not be affected by the law.
Although Bibles with the Olympics logo were handed out in Communist China, they won’t be at London 2012. Under the Communist regime in China, the Bible Society was able to hand out copies of The Good Book with the Olympic logo emblazoned on the front cover at the 2008 games. At London 2012, however, it has been ruled out. ‘The idea was to give them out during the Olympics, as a Christian welcome to our country’, says the society’s spokesman, Rachel Rounds. ‘We had a special sports Bible prepared, with extra information in the front about what the Bible has to say about sport’. The charity has now abandoned the idea because of Olympic rules regarding the use of the logo. ‘The Olympic movement has always been clear that it should not be used to promote any religion’, says a source at the games. ‘We have a multi-faith centre at the Olympic Park, where people can find Bibles. In Beijing, these Bibles appeared out of nowhere. They were not approved by the Chinese government’.
Rounds says, ‘It would have been nice to be a part of the Olympics, but, it seems, Christianity has less of a place than we first thought. During the Beijing Olympics, Amity printing press published Bibles with the official Olympic logo on them’.
A Christian psychotherapist struck off after attempting to convert a homosexual man to heterosexuality said yesterday that counsellors with traditional views now face being ‘closed down’. Lesley Pilkington, 61, spoke as she lost her appeal against her registration with her professional body being cancelled after an undercover journalist, posing as a patient, recorded her during a therapy session. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) said that, although Patrick Strudwick had ‘deliberately misled’ Mrs. Pilkington, she was guilty of professional malpractice. Mrs. Pilkington, who believes that homosexuality is sinful, practices a controversial counselling technique known as ‘reparative therapy’ involving counselling and prayer.
In 2009, Mr. Strudwick, using a false name, arranged two counsel-ling sessions with Mrs. Pilkington telling her he was a ‘believer’ after meeting her at a conference. He later wrote about his experiences in an article in The Guardian and lodged a formal complaint with the BACP saying that he had been left disturbed by what took place. During the session, she asked him whether he had been abused as a child or bullied at school, and whether any of his relatives had been Freemasons as a possible cause of his homosexuality. A conduct hearing last year ruled that Mrs. Pilkington had fallen short of professional standards by making ‘premature and reckless’ diagnoses. An appeal panel threw out a number of adverse findings against Mrs. Pilkington, but found that she had failed to take enough steps to ensure that Mr. Strudwick fully understood what her counselling entailed, and the ‘precise belief system that underpinned it’. The case is the latest in a series which have led those who maintain traditional views on sexuality to claim they are being pushed out of the public sphere.