Christian doctor sacked for not using preferred pronouns

Dr David Mackereth claims he lost his job because of his Christian faith
Photo: Matthew Cooper/PA Wire/PA Images

A doctor has claimed he was dismissed because his Christian beliefs prohibited him from addressing transgender benefit claimants by their preferred pronoun.

David Mackereth, who was training to be a health and disability assessor for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), said he was told he could not be employed if he refused to refer to patients as “he” or “she” according to their wishes, rather than the gender assigned at their birth.

He claims the DWP breached the Equality Act and his right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion under article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Having worked as a doctor since 1989, Dr Mackereth was being employed and trained by Advanced Personnel Management (APM), an employment agency for the DWP.

Dr Mackereth said outside the Birmingham employment tribunal yesterday: “Last year I was training to do medical assessments for the Department for Work and Pensions and because of my Christian convictions I felt I couldn’t use pronouns – the words ‘he’ and ‘she’ – in an arbitrary manner.

“I said that in good conscience I couldn’t do that. The DWP took some time to think about it and decided then that I wasn’t fit to do the job because of, I would say, my Christian convictions.

“So I am coming to court today because I want the right to practise medicine as a Christian doctor in the way that I always have.”

During his training for the job with APM, which would have involved him writing reports assessing disability benefit claimants for the DWP, an instructor informed Dr Mackereth that he must only refer to clients by the gender they identified with.

Speaking to the Telegraph last year, Dr Mackereth said: “I said that I had a problem with this. I believe that gender is defined by biology and genetics. And that as a Christian the Bible teaches us that God made humans male or female. I could have kept my mouth shut. But, it was the right time to raise it.

Dr Mackereth is a Christian hero who chose to sacrifice his distinguished professional career rather than compromise on the Bible and his conscience. The requirement to use so-called transgender pronouns defies common sense and Christian faith” –  Andrea Williams, Christian Legal Centre

“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 APM saying the DWP had received legal advice that misgendering clients “could be considered to be harassment as defined by the 2010 Equality Act”, but that if he complied with DWP policy he could continue his training.

The doctor’s lawyers say he was asked: “What would you do if you were to assess someone who is obviously a man but asks to be referred to as ‘she’ or ‘Mrs’ in the report?”. Dr Mackereth replied that as a Christian, he could not accede to such a request in good conscience. He was suspended and, a week later, dismissed from his post.

The Christian Legal Centre, which is representing Dr Mackereth, say that the DWP discriminated against him because of his Christian beliefs, including “his belief in the truth of the Bible, and in particular, the truth of Genesis 1:27: ‘So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them’.

“It follows that every person is created by God as either male or female. A person cannot change their sex/gender at will. Any attempt at, or pretence of, doing so, is pointless, self-destructive, and sinful.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “Dr Mackereth is a Christian hero who chose to sacrifice his distinguished professional career rather than compromise on the Bible and his conscience. The requirement to use so-called transgender pronouns defies common sense and Christian faith. It serves no useful purpose except filtering out firm Christians and men of principle such as Dr Mackereth.

“If we tolerate this as a society, if we give in on the essential freedom of thought, conscience and religion, no other freedom is safe. We are determined to fight all the way to secure justice in this case. If freedom to tell the truth – in this case calling a man ‘he’ and a woman ‘she’ – is suppressed, then truth itself is suppressed.”

The case continues at the Midlands (West) employment tribunal.

11 Responses to Christian doctor sacked for not using preferred pronouns

  1. Avatar
    Sir 10 Jul 2019 at 2:47 pm #

    “… if we give in on the essential freedom of thought, conscience and religion, no other freedom is safe….”
    You mean, like the freedom to identify as the gender to which you most closely self-identify or indeed the one you now are, following transgender procedures ?
    Ooh dear, what a troubled web !
    It is a sad fact of life that those who tout freedom the most are usually looking to restrict the freedom of others.

    • Avatar
      Tina L 10 Jul 2019 at 3:46 pm #

      I guess I can identity as a white child even though I am a 50-something African black woman. Would you accept me as that, Sir?

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      Patrick 11 Jul 2019 at 6:00 am #

      Freedom is the ability to do what is right (and yes, there is an objective standard that says what is right and wrong), not the ability to do whatever we please.

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    Sir 10 Jul 2019 at 3:06 pm #

    If we allow the whim of the individual determine “truth” rather than objective reality what kind of a rabbit hole of nonsense have we descended into?

    People can have the freedom to call themselves whatever they want, they can have the freedom to dress however they want, but once we insist that they have the right to force others to speak or think in a way that defies objective reality then we have lost all sense of logic and reason.

    The transgender lobby is forcing us into an Orwellian double-speak thought police state!

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    Suzie 10 Jul 2019 at 3:26 pm #

    I think the doctor should not be sacked for anybody else’s sex change.Both should have a choice. Whatever the patient does is his choice but the doctor cannot be condemned for his beliefs either.

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    david 10 Jul 2019 at 3:34 pm #

    If god created men and women in his own image it suggests that god is both male and female and doesn’t distinguish between the sexes. As such the use of any pronoun should suffice, if you follow logic, but religion tends not to do that.

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    David Robertson 10 Jul 2019 at 3:44 pm #

    Sir
    I’d sack whoever sacked the doctor at DWP. It’s this kind of ‘political correctness’ that is alienating the silent majority from the noisy minority who want to impose their view of morality on others. Unfortunately, too many of our legislators, regulators and timid employers listen to minority viewpoints instead of defending sensible freedoms of expression for all.

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    Rachel 10 Jul 2019 at 6:16 pm #

    So by his logic if I think one of my customers is thick, fat and ugly I’m allowed to tell him that to his face because Jesus? This is going to be fun.

    • Avatar
      Amelia 11 Jul 2019 at 1:20 pm #

      Errr…quite the opposite, actually…..

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    Claire 17 Jul 2019 at 1:33 pm #

    Whatever your beliefs, trans people are recognised as such in law. Legally that person is the gender they wish to be referred to. It would be like me saying I refuse to call you Simon because I don’t think that is a proper name and I’m going to call you Tracy instead. Let alone just common decency and politeness in addressing people how they wish to be addressed. You can think what you like but you cannot act on all of your thoughts in a workplace without repercussions, and rightly so

    • Avatar
      Karen 17 Jul 2019 at 3:56 pm #

      Glad to see some common sense and legal facts from Claire.

      In my personal opinion this doctor can’t be much of a Christian for wanting to be a DWP assessor. At what point does he think it can be morally correct to judge someone’s fitness to work based on targets rather than facts. Many terminally ill people have been condemned as fit to work then died weeks later.

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