The judgement of the Supreme Court in London regarding the ‘Ashers Cake’ case is to be welcomed.
The stand of the McArthur family must also be acknowledged, not only in defending freedom of conscience but their demonstration of the Christian faith. Not once did they criticise the individual at the centre of this case or speak out in anger. They clearly have a very strong faith.
The victory for the defence of freedom of conscience aside, I would like to draw attention to Paragraph 14 of the Judgement, available online on the Supreme Court website, which states:
“The Court of Appeal expressed some concern that the correspondence between the ECNI and the bakery may have created the impression that the ECNI was not interested in assisting members of the faith community when they found themselves in difficulties as a result of their deeply held religious beliefs (para 106).
“It is obviously necessary for a body such as the ECNI to offer its services to all people who may need them because of a protected characteristic and not to give the impression of favouring one such characteristic over others.”
This is a most damning statement of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, who are supposed to uphold the rights of everyone, especially core rights – namely ‘freedom of conscience’, never mind ‘freedom of assembly’. Established in 1998 by the Northern Ireland Act, or Belfast Agreement, the motives of the ECNI must be questioned. What purpose does it serve when individuals are expected to defend key rights before the Supreme Court against this quango?
We live in a society where people are quick to judge, whilst accusing others of the same. The target is primarily those with Christian values, namely in respect of the two social and moral issues of abortion and same-sex marriage which currently dominate politics. These issues are being used by the political left to bring Christians to account for their beliefs before man, not God.
Dr Andrew Charles, Belfast BT9