Friday 29 March 2024

Anglican priest who called a trans archdeacon a 'bloke' should not face punishment, tribunal rules

Anglican priest who called a trans archdeacon a 'bloke' should not face  punishment, tribunal rules | Daily Mail Online

An Anglican priest who called a trans archdeacon a 'bloke' should not face punishment, a disciplinary tribunal has ruled.

Clergymen Brett Murphy made the comment when discussing the appointment of Rachel Mann as the archdeacon of Bolton and Salford to his 14,000 YouTube subscribers last year.

He said the Church of England's first trans woman archdeacon was 'in fact, bioligically, a bloke, who identifies and lives as a woman', and also labelled her as a 'fella', The Times reported.

During the video, Mr Murphy also questioned whether Ms Mann was being positioned to become a bishop, saying: 'What you are seeing here is someone who is a radical rainbow activist being put in a position of high authority in a diocese.'

He subsequently left the church after it announced plans to introduce same-sex blessings to places of worship, but still faced a hearing after a complaint was made against him under official clergy discipline measures.

The complaint was rejected at the first hearing by the Bishop of Loughborough, the Right Rev Saju Muthulay, but it was re-opened after a review was requested by the original complainant.

This week, Mr Murphy once again found he had no case to answer for, following a ruling from David Turner KC, deputy president of the church's disciplinary tribunal.

Mr Turner said while the terms used to refer to Mann were 'arguably highly insensitive', they were 'not in themselves offensive words'.

While recommending to Muthulay that the complaint should be dismissed, Mr Turner referred to the 2022 employment law case involving Maya Forstater, a researcher at a London think tank.

During that case, a tribunal found that Ms Forstater suffered discrimination because of her view that men could not become women.

Mr Turner said: 'That what was said falls short on the facts of any threshold for further proceedings.

'It follows that there is, therefore, no case to answer in respect of which a disciplinary tribunal should now be asked to adjudicate.'

According to officials at the Christian Legal Centre, Mr Murphy has faced a 'co-ordinated campaign against him, resulting in a record four clergy disciplinary measures', since he launched his YouTube channel. All four claims have been rejected, the centre say.

The centre also told the Times: 'Murphy was concerned that the church's disciplinary process was being abused and weaponised to silence, intimidate and force Anglican priests … who do not affirm and celebrate LGBTQI+ ideology and the plans to introduce same-sex marriage to places of worship.'

It also claimed that a 'huge volume of cases involving clergy who have been intimidated and punished simply for expressing standard Christian beliefs on marriage and sexual ethics'.

The complaint would not be referred to the bishop's disciplinary tribunal and no further steps could be taken, as Mr Turner had ruled that there was not a case for Mr Murphy to answer.