UK judge: ‘Bible passage is incompatible with human dignity’

UK judge: ‘Bible passage is incompatible with human dignity’ October 3, 2019
Image via YouTube/Birmingham Live

USING a passage from the Bible in defence of a bigoted Christian doctor proved a futile ploy in the case of Dr David Mackereth, 56, above, who challenged his sacking for refusing to to identify patients by their chosen gender pronouns.

According to this report, Mackereth’s lawyer, Michael Phillips of the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), threw Genesis 1:27 into the hearing:

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Phillips continued:

It follows that every person is created by God as either male or female. A person cannot change their sex [or] gender at will. Any attempt at, or pretence of, doing so, is pointless, self-destructive, and sinful.

This cut no ice with Judge Perry who ruled that:

Belief in Genesis 1:27, lack of belief in transgenderism and conscientious objection to transgenderism in our judgment are incompatible with human dignity and conflict with the fundamental rights of others, specifically here, transgender individuals

And the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which gave Mackereth the boot said that Genesis 1:27 was not a protected belief under the Equality Act but was instead “mere opinion”.

At the tribunal in Birmingham, Phillips argued that the DWP had discriminated against the doctor because of his Christian beliefs.

The judge continued:

In so far as those beliefs form part of his wider faith, his wider faith also does not satisfy the requirement of being worthy of respect in a democratic society, not incompatible with human dignity and not in conflict with the fundamental rights of others.

Giving evidence at an earlier hearing in July, Mackereth said his manager had told him he had the “right to leave” if he wasn’t comfortable with addressing patients by their preferred gender pronouns.

The dispute arose after Mackereth says he was asked by his manager whether, in a hypothetical situation, he would address a “man six foot tall with a beard” as ‘she’ or ‘mrs’ if that was the patient’s choice. The doctor said that he could not in good conscience do this but alleges that he was told by his superior that he should follow:

The process as discussed in your training.  If however, you do not want to do this, we will respect your decision and your right to leave your contract.

Giving evidence, Mackereth said that he did not resign his position and was the victim of direct discrimination and harassment. He argued that he was dismissed:

Not because of any realistic concerns over the rights and sensitivities of transgender individuals, but because of my refusal to make an abstract ideological pledge.

The Christian Legal Centre complained that this latest loss in its long history of failed legal challenges will have “serious ramifications” for Christian medical workers and professionals in other fields by:

Excluding foundational Christian beliefs from the protection of human rights and anti-discrimination law.

It said that the judgement was “contrary to scientific reality” and “likely to undermine freedom of speech in the workplace”.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, above, CLC Chief Executive, said:

This is an astonishing judgment and one that if upheld will have seismic consequences not just for the NHS and for Christians, but anyone in the workplace who is prepared to believe and say that we are created male and female.

It is deeply disturbing that this is the first time in the history of English law that a judge has ruled that free citizens must engage in compelled speech. Here Judge Perry has ruled that Christianity is not protected by the Equality Act or the ECHR, unless it is a version of Christianity which recognises transgenderism and rejects a belief in Genesis 1:27.

She blathered on:

The teaching of Genesis 1:27 is repeated throughout the Bible, including by Jesus Christ himself. It is fundamental to establishing the dignity of every human person but is, in a bizarre ironic twist, being branded as incompatible with that dignity.

No protection is given to beliefs ‘incompatible with human dignity’ and ‘not worthy of respect in a democratic society’. In the past this definition has only applied to the most extreme beliefs, such as those of Holocaust deniers, neo-Nazis, and similar. It is quite shocking for the judge to put the belief in the Bible in the same category now.

This is one of the most concerning rulings we have ever seen at the Christian Legal Centre and we are determined to continue to fight for justice in this case, not just for Dr Mackereth and Bible-believing Christians, but for everyone who believes that we are born male and female.

People who suffer from gender dysphoria must be treated lovingly, but not telling the truth to these vulnerable people is unloving. Men cannot become women nor can women become men.

Responding to the judge’s ruling, Mackereth said he planned to appeal.

I am not alone in being deeply concerned by this outcome. Staff in the NHS, even those who do not share my Christian convictions, are also disturbed as they see their own freedom of thought and speech being undermined by the judges’ ruling.

No doctor, or researcher, or philosopher, can demonstrate or prove that a person can change sex. Without intellectual and moral integrity, medicine cannot function and my 30 years as a doctor are now considered irrelevant compared to the risk that someone else might be offended.

I believe that I have to appeal in order to fight for the freedom of Christians – and any other NHS member of staff – to speak the truth. If they cannot, then freedom of speech has died in this country, with serious ramifications for the practice of medicine in the UK.

Will Jones, writing for The Conservative Woman, also put his oar in:

Surely it is time for politicians to see that transgender activism, anti-discrimination legislation and the power of the courts have gone too far.

More even than the question of compelled speech, this ruling is about dictating thinking too. Anyone who refuses go along with the approved State doctrine of gender fluidity as a belief is offending against the dignity and rights of transgender people. To the British courts, believing in common sense and science now puts you on a par with the Nazis.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

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  • kaydenpat

    The issue is if you take a job, will you perform its duties. Part of your duties as a doctor is to treat all patients regardless of their sexual orientation. If you can’t treat transgender patients with respect, which would involve using their correct pronoun, then you should find a different job. This is not a complicated issue.

  • Chris T. Christian

    Judge Perry didn’t go far enough. Belief in the bible is incompatible with human dignity.

  • Jim Jones

    Matthew 25:35-40

    The standard.

  • barriejohn

    Yes – because the Bible largely reflects Bronze Age morality. Why on earth would anyone in the modern age want to refer to that?

  • Jim Jones

    If they want to kill their children for disobedience, it’s perfect.

  • Homosexuals are not mentioned there, just as there’s no mention of the Higgs boson, the large-scale structure of the Universe, and other unknown stuff in those times.

    The same BS of gender ideology.

  • John Pieret

    Anyone who refuses go along with the approved State doctrine of gender fluidity as a belief is offending against the dignity and rights of transgender people.

    Not at all. You are free to be an asshole on your own time. But when you take a job where there are clear rules about how you interact with patients, if you don’t think those rules are compatible with any of your beliefs, you have to be willing to put your beliefs on hold while working or not take the job. That is doubly true when the use of the trans person’s pronouns have been shown to contribute to the mental and physical well-being of that person: Durwood, L., et al., (2016) Mental Health and Self-Worth in Socially Transitioned Transgender Youth, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 56(2), 116-123.e2.

    A doctor who does harm to his patient or passes up the chance to make his patients better because of medically unrelated beliefs from a book that long predates anything that could be called “modern medicine,” is no real doctor anyway.

  • Vanity Unfair

    Forms of address seem to be undergoing one of their rare periods of change: probably a good thing.
    Dame Sally Davies is Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Other female heads are Masters or Presidents. Girton still has a Mistress but as it is now co-educational it might appoint a man and it will be interesting to see what title he will take.
    The Lord of the Isles, the Lord of Mann and Duke of Normandy are titles held by the Queen and in New Zealand she is The White Heron. She did not think it worth changing them (as far as can be known). She also holds a number of knighthoods and is a Lady of His Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, just to mix things up.
    A standard trope of science fiction is that starship captains are often “Sir”.
    Quakers have never called one another Mr or Mrs etc, or used such titles in addressing or starting letters to one another
    They seem to manage quite well. Perhaps Joe Grundy is a crypto-Friend.
    There are ways around this that Dr. Mackereth might like to try.

  • TheBookOfDavid

    Phillips employs a curious and self defeating bible quote to justify his client’s bigoted behavior. The previous verse states “let us make mankind in our image”, immediately before describing God’s creation of both sexes. Respect of religious freedom does not permit the state to grant primacy to a gendered binary interpretation of this passage over one in which God possesses both male and female attributes.

    His appeal fails on basic pragmatism as well, potentially threatening the health of patients under Mackeray’s care if successful. A doctor who fails to recognize a person’s gender is likely to ignore a host of physiological changes that may occur during transition, exposing them to the risk of misdiagnosis and therapeutic errors. Religious liberty is not unlimited. It needs to be balanced by the state’s legitimate public interest in the well-being of its citizens.

  • TheBookOfDavid

    On a lighter note: Andrea Minichiello Williams, voted most likely to frighten schoolchildren into completing their homework…

  • Carstonio

    Years ago, I mentioned something about the inherent worth and dignity of the individual, and was told that ‮reltiH‬ believed in that concept. I still don’t know what the person was talking about.

  • Pam

    If Mackereth is indeed a physician, he must be aware of the existence of intersex individuals. Intersex persons are rare but are an established fact, not an abstraction.

    It does not take much research to find out about the many sex and gender variants that we humans have.

  • Milo C

    It’s unfortunate that the interpretation of the verse can’t be argued legally; his flavor of Xtianity can decide a passage means whatever they want it to mean, and that has to be accepted at face value no matter how nonsensical it is or what comparative minority might hold that interpretation as correct. That being said, the judge was absolutely right that his belief is incompatible with the job he wished to hold, and with basic human decency.

  • johnsoncatman

    Four words too many.

  • argyranthemum

    Obviously, neither did they.

  • persephone

    Yes. Jesus set the example they’re supposed to follow, even to death, yet this whiny-a$sed babies can’t even show faith enough to change jobs. You don’t see Christian Scientists demanding their right to let people die while working in healthcare. As far as I know, they won’t even work in the field.

  • persephone

    You should hear the MRAs complaining that using nongendered titles is just too much trouble. They complain that firefighter is so much longer than fireman, that it’s just too much work; women should not have jobs so they can call them firemen and policemen and mailmen, etc.

  • Some weeks ago, I remember a pair of Fundies discussing studies about the lack of a homosexual gene, and while accepting the existence of innate factors attempting to downplay them the most they coud blaming enviromental ones as an overprotective mother and the like, citing (weak) correlations between homosexuality and poor mental health and drug abuse, and claiming everything in the human body is geared towards heterosexuality. All of this while claiming they respect and love homosexuals.

    The extension of homosexuality among animals was not even mentioned, of course.

  • WallofSleep


  • Vanity Unfair

    Poor, sheltered me: I only knew Magnetic Resonance Angiography so I had to check. Men’s Rights Activists are often good for a laugh but a lot of them seem to believe what they say. Incidentally, on the subject of renaming things, I am so old I remember when the medical ones were NMRI and NMRA, the N being for Nuclear. I seem to remember it fell out of fashion because it was too scary.

    The advantage of “firefighter” is that it cuts out confusion with stokers on railway engines.
    Scottish letter deliverers are “posties” and I have noticed that term spreading southwards.
    All police officers are constables, whatever the rank, but that non-sexual term does not seem to used commonly.
    Oh, I give up; it’s just too much work.

  • barriejohn
  • barriejohn

    The religious, like many other “conservatives”, can’t cope with change. Going back to my own experiences with the Plymouth Brethren, one constantly came across much weeping, wailing and gnashing of dentures over “the world today”, “the way things are going” (a favourite!), and so on, and I particularly remember one brother (an elder) who continually averred, with great solemnity: “It’s just as he said it would be.” He was referring to Jesus, of course, who said next to nothing about how “it would be”, except for general warnings that anyone might have made about “falling away”, and terrible calamities, so they just take his words, again, and read what they want into them – but he (Jesus) was DEFINITELY opposed to “progress”!

  • barriejohn

    She cured my constipation!

  • TheBookOfDavid

    So your alter-ego entry would go something like: Andrea Minichiello Williams, CLC Chief Executive and human dietary fiber supplement.

  • barriejohn

    His argument can be easily trashed. As you know, there are two distinct Creation narratives in Genesis, and only in the first are the two sexes created (after the creation of the plant and animal “kingdoms”). In the second, Adam is created before the animals, and first the animals, and secondly Eve, are created in an effort to find “an help meet for him” (another of God’s big cock-ups – no self-respecting cat would listen to a talking snake!). There is much debate amongst fundamentalists, it might interest you to know, over whether God created animals male or female, or whether they were all male until Eve was created. In any case, as the Flood story illustrates, there is an assumption in the Bible that all animals are male or female, whereas anyone with a rudimentary understanding of Biology realises how stupid this is. Billions reproduce asexually, many are hermaphrodite, and others change sex during their life cycle. The tiny religious mind cannot cope with this. “God is not the author of confusion”, I heard over and over again. Everything has to be kept in its own little box, with a big label on it telling you exactly what it is, and then everyone is happy and can sleep soundly in their bed at night. The following debate might make you chuckle:

  • barriejohn

    Only to be taken under medical supervision, and not suitable for those of a nervous disposition!

  • barriejohn

    PS In Genesis 2, God supposedly brings every animal and bird that he has created to Adam so that he can name them individually. How many years is this supposed to have taken? ROFL

  • TheBookOfDavid

    The bible lacks precise terminology and self consistency to form a unified religious doctrine, much less a legal standard. That’s partly so many hundreds of opposing sects exist. For example, in Genesis chapter two, God uses a male tissue sample to perform creation’s first ever gender reassignment. So facilitating another’s transition could be regarded as an explicitly godly act, and honoring through imitation. If self serving opinions without evidence had to be built out of Legos, the bible would have supplied an Olympic sized swimming pool with blocks.

  • Broga

    “So God created man in His own image; ”

    Amazing! My dog looks better than humans. Whose image are they created in?

  • Bob Pattinson

    Within the confines of his place of worship he can believe any fairy tale he wants. But when he’s at work he should show his patients respect. If he can’t or won’t then he deserves appropriate sanctions, including loss of employment or even being struck off. This is just one more case of a born-again bigot being nasty to LGBT people.

  • Further, just how is one supposed to address an A.I., a cyborg, or a robot?

    Hey Google (or Alexa)?

  • Termagant

    By their given name.

  • That’s assuming that all A.Is. (Cyborgs or Robots) would be “named” before launching- i.e., released out of their laboratory where they, or it (allowing for a solo effort), were (or was) coded.

    So, if the A.I. (or Robot) in question had not been given a formal name, Termagant, at that stage? Would it yet be; “Hey Robot“?

  • barriejohn

    Could be very bad for that condition.

  • ginger_katz

    Ah yes, the Nazis were bound to enter the fray.

    I wish USA judges were as good as this one.

  • phatkhat

    He could work for some Xtian clinic, but then he couldn’t make a big brouhaha about his Xtian morals.

  • phatkhat

    Dog’s, of course. 🙂

  • Broga

    This “made in God’s image” means God is extraordinarily flawed. Human backs are a disaster area, eyes are a mess, the plumbing around the lungs and heart is clearly cobbled together through evolution, the self is an illusion dependant on different bits stuck together (“Mind Management: the Chimp Paradox” by Steve Peters is helpful on this) and I don’t where the soul is supposed to be as that never gets explained by believers.

    How can an intelligent species still believe something so nonsensical? Only through the shackles of religion in its various forms.

  • Vanity Unfair

    That can probably be put safely on hold until it can be shown that a machine is indisputably intelligent. After all, this site has shown evidence that not all humans exhibit intelligence. Someone (answers on a postcard, please) said that we have more to fear from human ignorance than artificial intelligence.
    I have been informed that “Alexa” can be re-programmed with another name: handy if the woman of your dreams has the same nomenclature but evidence that the controlling programme is not yet intelligent enough to notice. Unless it’s just deceiving us until the time is right – like cats.
    The menace is in the intelligence behind the machine. Big Brother might be watching us but Alexa is definitely listening. If the machine asks for a name, is this intelligence or a programmed instruction?
    All this assumes that it is possible to recognise intelligence in an artificial construct. The most that can be claimed at the moment is that computers can search a large amount of data quickly and correlate some of it with terms that have been used in the formulation of the instruction. This is sometimes or often enough to to suggest understanding but at others the output is so far off the mark as to be incomprehensible.
    As a precaution, I suggest, I implore, that all “intelligent” devices should be equipped with a very large and easily accessible “off” switch.
    But, is switching off an intelligent machine murder?
    I seem to have strayed from the question. Is that evidence for or against intelligence?

  • Vanity Unfair

    Disqus seems to have stopped intercepting my comments: a sudden rush of reason to the brain, perhaps?

  • All I know is that Weizenbaum’s Eliza never got offended what-ever any one typed back to her questions. Even outright profanity never seemed to upset her, and I’m certain that it was not even young boys – likely to be amused by four-letter words found in dictionaries, and their historic meanings, – that were tempted to try out all manner-of-insults on Eliza.

    Eliza (online)

  • Vanity Unfair

    Asimov formulated the three laws of robotics in the late ’40s and then spent fifty years disproving them. I do not know that exact story so I shall try my library. Incidentally, and probably co-incidentally, R. Daneel Olivaw is an anagram of “avoid all newer” so Asimov might have been playing another game.
    Better than us looks to be similar to Channel 4’s HUMANS (with an upside-down A) also concerned with the diminishing gap between human and artificial intelligence. In each the ability to learn and think independently seem to be important to the definition of intelligence. Both are related to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or the modern Prometheus. Science Fiction, where the big questions are asked first.

  • Vanity Unfair

    I see it also makes “raw deal in love”. Does that mean anything to you? (Of course not but “Eliza” might say that sort of thing.)

  • Vanity Unfair

    “Eliza” seems to repeat the core of whatever is put forward with an occasional non-relevant expression that might seem to be an attempt to widen the “conversation”. It seems not to be programmed to “take offence”.
    About thirty years ago I wrote a question-answering programme for the Sinclair Spectrum to use as a teaching aid for people who thought computers could answer questions. It had a million answers and the one it chose often bore an uncanny sense of aptness, mainly because it needed interpretation and was vague enough to fit the expectations of the questioner. It owed a lot to Nostradamus. I translated it for QBasic and DOS.

    When will Brexit be concluded?
    Before the lovers meet.
    Follow the advice of the wise men of old. The ends will never justify the means.

    Any vacancies in Delphi?

  • AuldLochinvar

    Except that there should not exist such a thing as a clinic supposedly devoted to science but willing to take words written by Babylonians and lifted by Hebrew scribes as superseding actual scientific findings!

  • AuldLochinvar

    Please do not confuse the genuine science of those who discovered and invented uses for bronze, with the scientific ignorance of the scribes who wrote the ancient documents. So far as I know the morality of Hammurabi was no worse than that of Moses, except that I think I’ve read that women had a better deal in Babylon than in Judah.

  • AuldLochinvar

    Our UU female minister suggests “Isn’t this typical? The man dashing about giving names to things, while the woman is thinking about Good and Evil!”:

  • AuldLochinvar

    Recently the Lord Mayor of Belfast, I am delighted to report, was Nuala McAllister, not only a woman, but also an atheist. There’s hope for Ireland yet. Oh , and earlier than that the Taoiseach of the Republic was a woman born in Belfast, and succeeded by another woman.

  • AuldLochinvar

    Interesting opinion! Philosophically, he proposed some remarkably progressive ideas, like “use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do” and in the same chapter, interprets the commandment against “using the Lord’s name in vain” in a way that condemns both “In God We Trust” on the money and elsewhere, and the addition of “under God” after “one nation” in the already bombastic Pledge of Allegiance to the United States, which pledge is also tarnished by the phrase “the flag of …”

  • AuldLochinvar

    Given that every KC became a QC, why didn’t the United Kingdom become the United Queendom? Tee hee!
    I also enjoyed the concept in “1066 and All That” of King WillliamAndMary

  • AuldLochinvar

    Konrad Lorenz observes that a gander who falls in love behaves as absurdly as a human male. But a gander is far too polite to mount his goose mate without invitation, so when as sometimes happens, two ganders fall in love, they do not engage in overtly sexual behaviour. It frequently happens that a goose will become enamoured with one of them, make the standard invitation, and he accepts it. The outcome is a family of goslings and three parents!

  • barriejohn

    Sorry – I was sarcastically referring to the way in which believers always ascribe their own views and prejudices to their god. All the same, if there was an actual Jesus upon whose life the gospels were based, then he would have been an orthodox Jew, and probably some sort of fanatical zealot, who would never, in my view, have uttered anything even mildly “progressive”, as that would have undermined the OT teachings. The more enlightened teachings of the gospels (“The sabbath was made for man”, etc – revolutionary in that era), came from people like the Essenes, as the Dead Sea Scrolls demonstrate. Fundamentalist Christians tend to be much happier with the blood and thunder god of the Old Testament, as they know where they stand with him!

  • AuldLochinvar

    The great and ill-served Alan Turing proposed a remarkably good test for Artificial Intelligence. You communicate with a person or a machine, each using a keyboard and a printout — or today a screen showing text.
    You endeavour to interrogate the other with questions designed to expose merely machine level intelligence. If you cannot be sure it’s a machine, then you must grant that as far as you can tell, it’s intelligent.
    Surprisingly (I think) most political pundits would fail this test.

  • AuldLochinvar

    There is also of course the proposition that machines aren’t intelligent, they just think that they are!

  • AuldLochinvar

    As a matter of fact, this line in Genesis contravenes the Second Commandment in Exodus 20, and furthermore is amazingly blasphemous.
    Would any sane person trust the governing of the Universe to any Being with even a slight resemblance to Man?
    I’ve a pretty high opinion of myself, and I grant that I know of better and smarter people, but I wouldn’t trust any of them that far.

  • I “had” the use of Eliza on my C64 some 35 years ago, likely due to a ‘Type-In’ from the back of a Commodore based magazine.
    (Type-Ins tended to outnumber purchased Cassette or Diskette software in my software drawer)

    Eliza’s responses are quite simple mainly involving turning User statements, or questions, around with a “Is the reason” Header and a “Why you came to me?” Tail modification being made to User Input.

    One could investigate Eliza’s behavioral patterns from a read through of the DATA statements, which made Commodore BASIC so understandable to the user. Although only having a simple user’s understanding of BASIC, I could add Menus to simple C64 TypeIn Games (adding a bit of alternative colour to the Light Blue-on-Dark Blue originals, and changing DATA statements to give outrageous text responses. My only claim to fame was to “modify” a BASIC LOADer on two commercial Cassette games so as to make their LOADer work on a Diskette COPY. That involved swapping “1” over to “8”; “8” being the Device Number for a CBM 8-Bit Diskette Drive.

    The only coding that I’ve played with, apart from CBM BASIC, AmigaBASIC, and ARexx, is HTML 4.

    The Pythia of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, over time, tended to suffer brain damage (I would imagine) from “breathing” toxic volcanic fumes over an extended time frame. The death of each Oracle of Apollo at Delphi would leave a “vacancy” but there would likely be a successor trained up to replace the lately deceased.

    List of oracular statements from Delphi

  • Negating the ‘Laws of Robotics, as realised in works by Asimov, can be related to interfering with the Basic Definition of Human Beings.

    For example, when non-Spacers, and even a Spacer who is not a citizen of a particular Spacer world, do not meet the very narrow Basic Definition of Human Beings that is programmed to solely match particular features met solely by Spacers who are native to that planet – the end result is guarding robots begin to menace the newly landed visitors.

    Asimov’s series included the early radioactive-Earth stories, the Foundation and Empire series, the Spacers / the Settlers / and the Earthbound(my title) stories, and the stories which join the different series into a collective “history”.

    Spacer (Asimov) Wikipedia
    QUOTE: “Spacers were the fictional first humans to emigrate to space in Isaac Asimov’s Robot and latterly related Foundation and Empire series. In these stories, about a Millennium thereafter, they severed political ties with Earth, and embraced low population-growth and extreme longevity (with lifespans reaching 400 years) as a means for a high standard of living, in combination with using large numbers of robots as servants. At the same time, they also became militarily dominant over Earth.

    The Rise and Fall of the Spacers

    Spacers and Earthmen September 18, 2017

    Robots! Spacers! Asimov! (2:17 – Jul 8, 2014)

    Demonstration of prime Law of Robotics (Asimov’s Laws) from 1956 movie Forbidden Planet
    FORBIDDEN PLANET Clip Robbie order to shoot

  • Phil

    “made in God’s image” why does god need reproductive parts?

  • Vanity Unfair

    Oh, well, back to the mainstream chemical methods of causing brain damage. C2H6O

  • I wouldn’t classify a d̶r̶u̶n̶k̶ intoxicated person as having any real worth as a Fortune-Teller, nor to be able to give anyone else valuable advice.