Christians fear limits on freedom under European equality directive

|PIC1|The European Commission’s proposal for an equal treatment directive has left Christians fearing that their freedom will be sidelined.

The directive seeks to supplement existing equality laws in the areas of employment and training by prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services.

Catholic Bishops in England, Wales and Scotland submitted a response to the UK consultation on the directive this week in which they said the Catholic Church supported “the underlying moral principle” of the draft directive.

It raised “serious concerns”, however, about “possible unintended consequences which would have the effect of limiting the right of the Church and its members to act in accordance with Catholic belief”, they added.

The Christian Institute warned that the directive had “great potential” to interfere with religious liberty and free speech, and would see the British Government relinquish control over important aspects of discrimination law to Brussels.

It warned that under the directive, churches may not be allowed to restrict membership to people who share their Christian beliefs.

France, the Czech Republic and Germany are among the countries to have voted against the directive.