An important decision of the England and Wales Court of Appeal, The Queen (on the application of Ngole) -v- The University of Sheffield EWCA Civ 1127 (3 July 2019)has ruled that a social work student, Felix Ngole, should not have been dismissed from his course on the basis of comments he made on social media sharing the Bible’s view on homosexuality. The court says in its summary at para , point (10):
The mere expression of views on theological grounds (e.g. that ‘homosexuality is a sin’) does not necessarily connote that the person expressing such views will discriminate on such grounds.
The decision is a welcome one, which will hopefully provide guidance in similar situations.
Australia goes to the polls in a Federal election on May 18, 2019. It seems worthwhile to note, for those interested, some recent information about the views of the major political parties on religious freedom, and to report an important study of public opinion on the topic.
This upcoming conference in Western Australia on challenges to religious freedom looks like it will be really worthwhile- 14-15 June 2019, Sheridan College – Perth. A great list of speakers! http://crossroads2019.weebly.com .
I am pleased to be able to post this guest post from Dr Alex Deagon FHEA, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology, who had made a Submission to the Queensland Parliamentary Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee on Voluntary Assisted Dying.
In short, his opinion (which I support) is that voluntary assisted dying should not be permitted, but if it is, medical practitioners and institutions should be able to hold and exercise conscientious objections. This issue, of course, relates to “law and religion” because there are deep religious objections to VAD; but it should be noted that the reasons offered by Dr Deagon are not based on a religious world-view, being instead general public policy considerations. The question of conscientious objection, of course, will also be especially relevant to religious medical practitioners, but again there will be many others who object to the procedure on other moral grounds.
I am presenting a paper at a Melbourne Law School seminar on “Tort Liability of Churches for Clergy Child Abuse after the Royal Commission: Implications of Developments in the Law of Vicarious Liability and Non-Delegable Duty”, which is now available for those who are interested. The (fairly technical legal) paper reviews common law liability of churches, touches on some of the statutory changes in NSW and Victoria following the Royal Commission, and suggests that the High Court of Australia should refine the law of “non-delegable duty” to allow it to be used in cases involving intentional torts.
I am presenting a paper on “Religious Freedom and Religious Schools” to a seminar sponsored by the Sydney Anglican Education Commission this evening. Those who are interested can download a copy of the paper here: Anglican Education Commission Pres Nov 8.