Christian Care Home Loses Funding Over Homosexuality Stance

by Maria Mackay
Posted: Friday, January 9, 2009, 12:11 (GMT)

Brighton & Hove City Council has pulled thousands of pounds worth of funding from a Christian care home because of its religious beliefs on homosexuality.

The council withdrew , £13,000 of funding when the care home refused the council’s request to ask the elderly Christian residents about their sexual orientation every three months. The home also refused demands from the council that it use images of homosexuals in its promotional literature and show staff a Stonewall presentation on “˜gay rights’.

The home is run by Pilgrim Homes, a charity serving elderly Christians for more than 200 years. Its residents include former missionaries and a retired church minister.

Phil Wainwright, director of human resources at Pilgrim Homes, said he was told by the council that the home must ask residents if they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual or “˜unsure’, even if they objected.

But managers at the care home told the council that meeting its demands would “unduly distress” the residents and go against their Christian ethos. They also informed the council that residents over the age of 80 in particular would regard probing from the council on sexual matters as “hostile and intrusive”.

“There was a strong feeling among people in the home that the questions were inappropriate and intrusive,” said Mr Wainwright. “They felt they had come to Pilgrim Homes because of its Christian ethos and were upset they were not protected from such intrusions.”

The council responded by accusing the home of “institutionalised homophobia” and withdrew the funding, which was being used to pay for warden services in sheltered housing.

Pilgrim Homes said it now plans to take Brighton & Hove Council to court for religious discrimination. The legal bid is being financially supported by The Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund.

The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said: “Brighton Council is displaying a very prejudiced and discriminatory attitude to the religious beliefs held by the elderly residents of the home run by Pilgrim Homes.

“After a lifetime of Christian service, these elderly men and women deserve to live in a restful environment which supports and nurtures their Christian faith.

“This case is the latest in a series of troubling incidents where the rights of Christians are seemingly being ignored in favour of “˜gay rights’.”


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