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Way In

Secular laws

WayinCarey.jpgWhen the Relate counsellor Gary McFarlane was dismissed for refusing to undertake psychosexual therapy with same-sex couples, the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey (pictured) argued in a witness statement that his appeal should be heard 'before the Lord Chief Justice ... and a specially constituted Court of Appeal of five Lord Justices who have a proven sensibility to religious issues.'

Responding to the statement, Lord Laws wrote that 'the promulgation of a position held purely on religious grounds cannot ... be justified. It is irrational, as preferring the subjective over the objective. But it is also divisive, capricious, and arbitrary.'

Clerical reaction to the dismissive response was robust. The Bishop of Lewes said that Lord Laws had 'made a ruling that is rationally incomprehensible and actually very serious for the future of the Christian faith.' Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, claimed that the judgment seemed 'infected with the postmodern contagion of individualism.' He added that it spoke of an 'enthusiasm for secular Britain.'

This last point is interesting, particularly in the light of Carey's initial call for Lord Justices who are sensitive to religion. Lord Laws attends the Temple Church regularly, writes reviews for Theology magazine and is married to a theologian.