Photo - Dr David Mackereth at home in Dudley, West Midlands, UK. Credit: Andrew Fox
An article in the English Sunday Telegraph a couple of months ago grabbed my attention and I summarise it here (I am a former journalist and instructed journalist cadets).
The lead phrase read, “A doctor has been “sacked” as a medical assessor for a government department after refusing to renounce his Christian belief that gender is determined at birth.”
Dr David Mackereth worked for 26 years as an NHS doctor but was told he could not be employed as a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) disability assessor if he refused to identify patients as being of a sex they did not see themselves as.
The 55-year-old father of four believed sex is genetic and biological, so established at birth.
It is that freedom of speech issue we’re hearing so much about - denied and he has been classed “unfit” to work for the department because of his religious convictions.
He is from Dudley in the West Midlands and his rightful fear is this - many other professional people of faith could also be dismissed simply for holding opinions about gender which are “centuries old.”
Dr Mackereth registered as a doctor in 1989 and spent most of his career working in Accident & Emergency wards. He exclaimed he was not attacking the transgender movement, but, defending his right to freedom of speech, and freedom of belief.
He doesn’t believe he should be compelled to use a specific pronoun, and not setting out to upset anyone. If upsetting someone can lead to doctors being sacked then, as a society, he claims we have to examine where we are going.
He is a Reformed Baptist, started a training course in May to become a health and disability assessor for the DWP. His role would have meant interviewing and then writing independent reports about the health of those claiming disability benefits.
However, when his instructor stated his reports must only refer to the patient - or “client” - by the sex the person identified themselves as, a discussion took place among the medics about the “fluid” nature of gender.
Here’s the rub - “I said I had a problem with this. I believe gender is defined by biology and genetics and as a Christian the Bible teaches us God made humans male or female. I could have kept my mouth shut but it was the right time to raise it.
“The tutor took me aside and said he had passed my comments up the chain to the DWP.”
Dr Mackereth then received an email from Advanced Personnel Management (APM), the agency which employed him and would have hired him out to the DWP.
They explained he could undergo training about the department’s policy, but the DWP had consulted lawyers and was adamant any report or contact with clients should refer to them in their chosen sex otherwise it “could be considered to be harassment as defined by the 2010 Equality Act”.
In good conscience
“In good conscience I could not conform to those demands, and so the contract was terminated between us,” Dr Mackereth said.
“Firstly, we are not allowed to say what we believe. Secondly, as my case shows, we are not allowed to think what we believe. Finally, we are not allowed to defend what we believe.
“By stating what has been believed by mankind for centuries – namely, gender and sex are determined at birth - you can come under ferocious attack.
A DWP spokeswoman said the Equality Act states it is unlawful to discriminate directly or indirectly against a person on grounds of a ‘protected characteristic,’ such as gender reassignment.
“Dr Mackereth made it clear during his training he would refuse to use pronouns which did not match his own view of a person’s biological gender.”
As I read the article I wondered where is this all going to end?
To those of us who are Christians and are followers of Jesus, we can see where this ‘political correctness’ and transgender movement is in conflict with His Word.
I for one, cannot support it.
John Skinner served as an infantry soldier in Vietnam then the Tasmanian Police before taking up the position of CEO of the Australian Rough Riders Association (professional rodeo based in Warwick Qld). Before retirement to his small farm, he was a photo-journalist for 25 years. He is married with 3 children and 7 grandchildren.
John Skinner's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/john-skinner.html