A Manchester, England financial institution, The Co-operative Bank, has asked a Christian organization, Christian Voice, to close its accounts because its convictions on homosexuality are “incompatible” with the position of the bank.
Here are excerpts from the bank’s statement, as quoted by BBC News: It has come to the bank’s attention that Christian Voice is engaged in discriminatory pronouncements based on the grounds of sexual orientation. . . . This public stance is incompatible with the position of the Co-operative Bank, which publicly supports diversity and dignity in all its forms for our staff, customers and other stakeholders.
The bank insisted that the decision had nothing to do with religion, but was made “purely on the issue of diversity.” So, what about Christian beliefs about homosexuality? Does the bank have no Muslim account holders? Will they be treated similarly?
The bank charges that the Christian Voice organization is an extreme group that has made scandalous claims against homosexuals. The organization came to the attention of the British public over its condemnation of the BBC for its plans to broadcast Jerry Springer — The Opera, which it described as blasphemous.
In a statement released after the BBC news story, the bank made this claim: We accept that everyone has the right to freedom of thought on religion; however, we do not believe that this entitles people to actively encourage and practice discrimination. In other words, the organization can hold to its beliefs, but cannot act on them?
Here we face another case of using the word discrimination as propaganda. All sane persons discriminate. We do not hire infants as police officers, child molesters as babysitters, or high school drop-outs as brain surgeons. Each of these decisions is an act of discrimination. In the course of a normal day, most persons make dozens of discriminatory decisions. The moral issue is whether an act of discrimination is right and proper. This bank is, to turn its own phrase, actively encouraging and practicing discrimination against a Christian organization — even as it condemns discrimination in all forms.
This news story is hard to take at face value. It is hard to believe that a financial institution can get away with this kind of overt religious discrimination. Who’s next?
LINKS TO UNCOOPERATION: News story from BBC News. See also the bank’s statement, posted on its Web site and a statement from Christian Voice, from its Web site.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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