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Christian doctor challenges ruling over trans pronouns

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A Christian doctor who lost his job for refusing to use trans pronouns will appear before a tribunal in the United Kingdom this week to challenge a ruling that held that biblical beliefs on gender are “incompatible with human dignity” and not “worthy of respect in a democratic society.”

Dr. David Mackereth, a physician who in July 2018 was forced out of his job in the Department of Work and Pensions, will challenge the ruling at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in London on Tuesday and Wednesday.

He is represented by the Christian Legal Centre.

“My case affects everyone, not just me and Bible-believing Christians, but anyone who is concerned by compelled speech and transgender ideology being enforced on the NHS and other public services,” Mackereth said in a statement

“The judgment from two years ago said to Christians, ‘you have to believe in transgender ideology.’ That is totalitarianism. It made out Christianity to be nothing, the Bible to be nothing. That cannot be allowed to stand.”

The case comes about a week after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told members of Parliament that “when it comes to distinguishing between a man and a woman, the basic facts of biology remain overwhelmingly important.”

In the two-day hearing, lawyers are expected to cite Maya Forstater’s tribunal victory last June, maintaining that an earlier decision against her “erred in law.” Forstater served as a senior researcher at a think tank in London and was fired in 2019 for tweeting that “men cannot change into women.” She criticized the decision to house a trans-identified biological male in a woman’s prison. 

Mackereth’s lawyers will argue that the Forstater ruling has resolved the “central issue of law” raised in Mackereth’s case and that the “conclusion that Christian religion itself was not a protected characteristic simply cannot be right.”

In 2018, Mackereth was terminated as a medical assessor after refusing to identify clients by their chosen gender identity. In 2019, he took his case to an Employment Tribunal in Birmingham, claiming harassment and discrimination based on his Christian beliefs.

Mackereth said during proceedings that he was asked in a conversation by his line manager: “If you have a man six foot tall with a beard who says he wants to be addressed as ‘she’ and ‘Mrs,’ would you do that?” And Mackereth replied that in good conscience, he could not. His contract was subsequently terminated.

But the tribunal ruled in October 2019 that the Department for Work and Pensions had not breached the Equality Act of 2010 by firing the physician, who now works as an NHS emergency doctor.

“A 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,” the judgment read.

The Christian Legal Centre argues that the employment judge “effectively put ‘transgender rights’ ahead of freedom of conscience.” The legal group contends that the consequence of the decision is that it “authorized employers to compel Christians to use pronouns preferred by customers who believe in gender-fluidity.”

“It is believed to be the first time in the history of English law that a judge has ruled that free citizens must engage in compelled speech,” a statement from the Christian Legal Centre reads. 

Mackereth believes that NHS employees are “being forced to accept a massive change to our concept of the medical reality of sex, with no scientific basis for that change.”

“No doctor, or researcher, or philosopher, can demonstrate or prove that a person can change sex,” Mackereth said. “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.”

As Christians are called to be “love all people,” Mackereth asserts that followers of Christ can’t “love people truly when we live and disseminate a lie.”

Christian Legal Centre Chief Executive Andrea Williams said if the judgment against her client is upheld, it will have “seismic consequences” for “anyone in the workplace who is prepared to believe and say that we are created male and female.”

“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,” Williams said. 

“This ruling cannot stand. We are determined to fight as far as possible for justice and for it to be overturned.”

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