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Christian Concern advises schools and charities

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Roger Kiska highlights some of Christian Concern’s unseen work.

Last year, I wrote an article for the Christian Concern website speaking about the “unknown client”. The point of the story was for Christian Concern supporters to gain a behind the scenes look at all of the work we do, which for one reason or another does not get reported publicly. With Christian Concern being busier than ever, we thought it was time to continue in this vein and share some of the success stories you otherwise would not be aware of. For the sake of the organisations and individuals we have assisted and all involved, the stories have been anonymised.

One of the many things Christian Concern has been doing in the area of education has been assisting schools and colleges in the drafting of their policy statements and providing them legal advice on pastoral issues such as what to do when children present with gender identity disorder in Christian schools. Far too many Christian schools in this country have worked in some level of distress that equality law would either make them subject to litigation for holding biblical views on gender and sexuality or that they would have to capitulate to the sexual politics of the day. Through our efforts of advising, drafting documents, and frequently speaking to school officials on the subject, more and more Christian schools have become emboldened to defend their ethos.

One such school – in fact the first we aided in this endeavour – came back to us recently stating that they were now dealing with a child who was gender-confused. Having been equipped with legal and policy arguments in defence of its Christian ethos, the school handled the manner in a way which helped the child with his confusion in a pastorally-sensitive manner but which did not compromise its Christian values. It is our hope and our vision that more and more schools will follow suit and begin to act in our children’s best interests, helping them to find peace with their birth sex rather than exacerbating their gender confusion as far too many schools have been doing.

Similarly, we have assisted a major Christian outreach organisation to develop some of its external policies to best protect their Christian ethos. Many Christian organisations do not realise, or at least they underutilise, the exemptions allowed to them under the Equality Act. Schedule 23 of the Act allows Christian organisations to define their ethos and exclude those from employment and membership who do not fit within that definition. Being overly broad in relation to defining one’s ethos or being inconsistent in applying it can lead to serious existential threats for Christian ministries. Case in point, in Reaney v. Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance, the Diocese of Hereford had not defined its ethos clearly enough. As a result, when the Bishop rejected an applicant for a youth position because he was living an openly homosexual lifestyle, yet admitted that the applicant might still be a Christian, the Diocese’s ability to define its Christian ethos was completely undermined. Consequently, they were successfully sued for anti-discrimination by the applicant. We assist ministries from avoiding these very dangerous pitfalls.

In the area of employment, we have also assisted a nurse in successfully keeping her job after a disciplinary hearing for her having shared her Christian faith to one of her colleagues who was of a different religion. In another case, we assisted a teacher who faced a disciplinary hearing for comments he made when he challenged the notion that conservative Christianity may amount to extremism. A positive settlement was reached which very much favoured the teacher and his position.

These are just several of the many success stories we here at Christian Concern see on a weekly basis. We thank all of you for your generous support and for allowing us, by God’s grace, to provide our services to these individuals and organisations in the furtherance of His Kingdom.