Court of Appeal backs Ofsted attempt to re-write meaning of “evangelical” – Supreme Court appeal sought

Sep 25, 2021 by

Press Release from The Christian Institute:

• Court of Appeal ruling today confirms that an evangelical foster agency can work exclusively with evangelical carers, but seeks to impose its own definition of “evangelical”.

• The agency, Cornerstone Adoption and Fostering, which is backed by The Christian Institute, is seeking to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Christian Institute has responded to today’s Court of Appeal ruling in the case of Cornerstone v Ofsted.

Deputy Director for Public Affairs, Simon Calvert, said:

“It’s right to fight discrimination. And evangelical Christians, though much maligned, have a good track record of welcoming people marginalised by the rest of society. But the law and language of discrimination is in danger of being distorted beyond recognition. What the court has done today, in the name of opposing discrimination, is actually to support discrimination by a powerful state regulator against a small voluntary group.

“The Christian Institute has supported Cornerstone as it has sought to defend itself. All it wants to do is find homes for hard to place children by bringing evangelical carers into the system. Is that such a bad thing?”

“Today’s Court of Appeal judgment claims ‘religious doctrine does not stand still’ and implies a role for Ofsted and the Equality Act in changing it [see para. 137 below]. This shocking defence of state over-reach in religious matters fundamentally misunderstands the nature of Christianity. Hundreds of millions of Christians around the world believe the Bible to be the unchanging and ever-relevant word of God.

“No gay carers were ever discriminated against by Cornerstone so this ruling does not in any sense ‘right a wrong’. Instead, Cornerstone is being punished for holding the ‘wrong beliefs’. Even worse, it is being told what it should believe instead. This is not what equality and human rights law are meant to be about.

“The Court of Appeal did confirm that Cornerstone suffered a significant interference with its human right to manifest its religious beliefs. We hope there will be an opportunity, in due course, for the Supreme Court to engage further with this and strike a fairer balance of competing rights.”

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