Guest / Limited Access /

The appointment of Joel Edwards, general director of the U.K.'s Evangelical Alliance, as a commissioner to the nation's Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has drawn complaints from gay activists.

Formed to enforce legislation guaranteeing age, ethnic, disability, gender, and sexual preference equality, the EHRC brings together the U.K.'s three previous equality commissions. The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, which went into effect on January 1, added prohibitions against treating anyone "less favorably than he treats or would treat others" on the grounds of sexual orientation. However, concessions within the act allow religious organizations to define standards of sexual behavior for their members and leaders.

Jay Herrick of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association was dismayed by the appointment of a conservative Christian to the EHRC. "Joel Edwards leads one of the most homophobic organizations in Britain," Herrick said. "The Evangelical Alliance is an umbrella group that shelters some of the most extreme anti-gay groups and churches in the country. How does the Government imagine that this man can participate in decisions about the rights of gay people in a fair and balanced way when he believes that we are all sinners who should live without sexual expression?"

An EHRC spokesman defended Edwards' appointment as a "faith leader and a senior figure in the black community." In addition, Trevor Phillips, the EHRC chair, has spoken against removing Christianity from public and school life.

"Denying Britain's distinct religious heritage and the celebrations of the Christian calendar can undermine community relations, as people — frankly, white people — feel that their historic faith is given ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueGrapes of Wrath: Refugees Face Steinbeck Scenario in Lebanon's Napa Valley
Subscriber Access Only
Grapes of Wrath: Refugees Face Steinbeck Scenario in Lebanon's Napa Valley
While US debates resettling 10,000 Syrians, a country smaller than Connecticut struggles with hosting 1.5 million.
Recommended
Getting to the Root of Female Masturbation
And the surprising role the church can play in helping women curb addiction to it.
TrendingWhy Most Pastors Aren’t Answering Your Phone Calls
Why Most Pastors Aren’t Answering Your Phone Calls
It's one the great mysteries of ministry. Why do pastors have such a bad reputation for answering or returning phone calls? Here are 9 reasons.
Editor's PickThe Good (and Bad) News About Christian Higher Education
The Good (and Bad) News About Christian Higher Education
‘Christian colleges are as strong as they’ve been since the 1920s,’ says historian William Ringenberg. But there are challenges on the horizon.
Christianity Today
Surprise Appointment
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

January 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.