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This article considers two recent high-profile employment cases to investigate the peculiar dilemma faced by certain public officials who are called upon to implement public policy in situations where their consciences are made uneasy due to their faith-based convictions. Such officials face, among other options, the dilemma of choosing between an appeal to rational objections, based on ‘public reasons’ that are non-religious in character, or citing their own faith-based conscientious objections. In McClintock v Department of Constitutional Affairs, by initially basing his objections on a form of public reason, McClintock arguably muddied the waters for his subsequent unsuccessful claim of religious discrimination. In Ladele v Islington Borough Council, however, the appeal to conscience alone also failed as religious convictions were ‘trumped’ by the superior claims of particular policy objectives. This article thus concludes that the ‘religious’ public official may, ultimately, have nowhere to turn except either to silence conscience and acquiesce or to exercise that ‘minimum’ employment right under ECHR case law – the right to resign.
The Church of Sweden, being the national Lutheran Church, was disestablished in 2000 and former state obligations were transferred to the church. Major changes were effected in the oversight of the clergy and all complaints were thereafter to be handled by the church itself. This article considers empirical data concerning those complaints and makes an evaluative comparison with the previous system.
Alienation of church property is governed by both canon law and civil law, which may give rise to conflict. This paper addresses issues surrounding the Roman Catholic canonical requirements for alienation including the need to consult experts. Failure to consult, itself may give rise to concerns over the validity of the diocesan bishop's permission to alienate and, in turn, the lawfulness of the sale. This is not merely academic. Churches in the United States find themselves in the position where ownership of temporal goods is of increasing interest to the civil courts in the pursuit of compensation for successful litigants in the current wave of abuse cases.
This article considers the question whether ministry in the Anglican Church of Australia is a profession as well as a vocation. After considering the context of child sexual abuse in the Church, and the contemporary practice of ministry, it examines whether it exhibits the four commonly recognised sociological marks of a profession: (1) specialised knowledge and skills; (2) service of fundamental human needs; (3) commitment to the other's best interest; and (4) structures for accountability.
When Theseus returned from Crete, his ship was long preserved in Athens. Over time, individual planks rotted and were replaced, until eventually all the planks had been renewed. Was the Athenian ship still the original one of Theseus? The problem that vexed Greek philosophers can be made more acute if one imagines that the rotten planks had been preserved, restored and eventually reconstructed into another ship. Which is now Theseus' ship? This was the problem facing Blackburne J in the High Court in the case of Dean v Burne. In effect, he decided that the ship of new planks is still the original one.
The issue of assisted suicide has been a matter of considerable controversy. On 9 December 2008 the incoming Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, announced that he would not prosecute Mark and Julie James for taking their son Daniel, paralysed as a result of a rugby accident, to an assisted-dying clinic in Switzerland. At the same time, Margo MacDonald MSP has been attempting to change the law in Scotland, where assisting the suicide of another is a common law offence. During the Lords committee stage of the Coroners and Justice Bill Lord Falconer moved a new clause to make it legal to help another to travel to a country in which assisted dying was lawful, in circumstances where that person had made a formal declaration of intent to travel abroad in order to die and two doctors, independent of each other, had certified that that person was terminally ill and had the necessary mental capacity to make the declaration. For the Government, Lord Bach said that Ministers felt that the Bill was not the appropriate vehicle for changing the law on assisted suicide and suggested that if Falconer wished to pursue the matter further he should do so through a Private Member's Bill – and the new clause was duly defeated by 194 votes to 141.