Problem is, Smith commented at his Facebook page, which is open only to friends, and did so on his own time. So he is taking his employer to court.
Equality Gone Too Far
Smith’s offense? He mildly opined that two men cannot be married. The BBC reported in February that although the government is permitting churches to perform legally binding cermonies, “[t]here are no plans to compel religious organisations to hold ceremonies”, noting that “the Church of England has said it would not allow its churches to be used.”
Smith saw the report and commented on his Facebook page thusly: “An equality gone too far?”
An unknown colleague at work posted a question: “Does this mean you don’t approve?”
No not really, i don’t understand why people who have no faith and don’t believe in Christ want to get hitched in Church the bible is quite specific that marriage is for men and women if the state wants to offer civil marriage to same sex then that is up to state; but they shouldn’t impose its rules on places of faith and conscience.
Apparently, Smith was mistaken about the nature of the government’s move, which does not require churches to perform such ceremonies. But that mistake isn’t the problem. Rather, he offended the organized homosexual political movement.
The Mail describes a Stalinist procedure to shut down Smith and punish him for holding a politically incorrect belief. A few days after the comment appeared, the thought police at the housing trust “summoned” him to a Star Chamber and told him he was suspended pending the result of an “investigation.”
More frighteningly, “he was warned that even though his Facebook page could be viewed only by registered friends, rather than by the general public, those readers included colleagues who had taken issue with his comments.”
A shocked Mr Smith, who managed a team looking after local housing issues, immediately removed the reference to where he worked from the page.
And the problems didn’t end there. Next, the Mail reported, the thought police ordered him to another meeting, where two managers said his “comment could cause offence.”:
[One] she had interpreted it as saying "gay people are not as equal as people who are not gay" and that the comment could be viewed as homophobic.
[Another] said it was not the comment but its potential misinterpretation that was at issue, but still ruled that Mr Smith had committed a serious breach of discipline for which he could be dismissed.
Smith’s punishment? A whopping pay cut that would put many in the poorhouse. Reported the Mail: “after a disciplinary hearing, he was downgraded from his £35,000-a-year managerial job to a much less senior £21,000 post — and avoided the sack only because of his long service.”
Smith was earning about $56,000 annually. The housing agency cut his pay nearly in half to $33,000. And he went from manager to rent collector.
So the 54-year-old Smith, the Mail reported, is “now taking the association to court, arguing that his punishment was out of proportion and his right to free speech was ignored.”
Friends said last night the father of two had been “shocked and distressed” by his treatment and would now face financial hardship.
Campaigners attacked the housing association’s decision — the latest in a series of cases in which Christians have clashed with employers — as a “complete over-reaction” by an organisation “drenched in political correctness.”
Attack on Christian No Surprise
For Britons, the attack is no surprise. Orwellian political correctness rules the sceptr’s isle with a mailed fist, but in any event the attack on Smith follows other disturbing news for the dwindling number of Britons who still call themselves Christians.
A few weeks ago, a Member of Parliament suggested that churches in Britain that refuse to perform homosexual marriages should be denied the right to perform legally binding marriages between men and women — as has been traditional since Old Testament times, and even before.
It’s distressing that so many countries around the world have appalling gay rights. As a supposedly civilised country, we should be pushing for a society where everyone is equal before the law. Quite simply, same-sex couples should have exactly the same marriage rights.”
He wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, also referring the government’s lifting the ban on churches performing commitment ceremonies. Wrote Weatherly:
Several campaigns are currently calling for, variously, the creation of a right to a Marriage for same-sex couples and the creation of a right to a Civil Partnership for opposite-sex couples. Such proposals may seemingly be the next logical step in the campaign for equality but, if enacted, would still leave us with a messy compromise. As long as religious groups can refuse to preside over ceremonies for same-sex couples, there will be inequality. Such behaviour is not tolerated in other areas, such as adoption, after all.
I suggest that it makes little difference if unions are called Marriages, Civil Partnerships or some other term (such as simply ‘Unions’). Until we untangle unions and religion in this country, we will struggle to find a fair arrangement.
While Smith erred in saying the government was imposing homosexual partnership ceremonies on churches, it's clear that such a mandate may well be in the future, given that a member of parliament is pushing it so forcefully.