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Christian magistrate suspended from NHS Trust

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A Christian magistrate, who was removed from the bench by the Lord Chancellor for his Biblical beliefs about marriage and family life, has since been suspended by an NHS Trust from his post as a non-executive director.

In yet another example of the way in which Christians are being forced out of public life for holding Bible-based beliefs Richard Page, 69, has been told by NHS bosses that he has been suspended from his position whilst the NHS Trust Development Authority "considers whether it is in the interests of the health service" for him to remain in his post.

Richard's immediate suspension comes only three weeks after he was removed from office as a Justice of the Peace, after 15 years of loyal service to the Kent Magistrates bench.
 

Suspended

Initiating the sequence of events which led to his suspension, Andrew Ling, Chair of the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) wrote to the NHS Trust Development Authority asking them to consider suspending Mr Page after his removal by the Lord Chancellor.

In the letter Mr Ling claims that Richard's comments, and continuance as a Trust member would have a major impact on staff, patients and "the perception of living the Trust values".

Mr Ling stated: "The recent publicity you have courted is likely to further undermine the confidence staff, particularly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) staff, have in the leadership of the Trust”. He added: “Links between the stigma often associated with being LGBT and poor mental health are well established. It is vital that patients and local population are confident that KMPT will challenge stigma or discrimination and treat everyone fairly and impartially".
 

Reprimanded

Richard expressed his beliefs in late 2014, after hearing an adoption case. Richard could not agree with his fellow magistrates that placing a child into the care of a same-sex couple was 'in the child's best interest'.

He was then reported, reprimanded, and forced to attend 're-education training'.

In March last year, Richard spoke on a national television programme, stating that there was insufficient evidence to convince him that placing a child in the care of a same sex couple was in the child's best interests.

Following his media comments, an investigation was carried out by a disciplinary panel, and he was eventually removed from office by the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor.

Richard is appealing the decision to the Judicial Appointments Conduct Ombudsman, Sir John Brigstocke, and is suing the Lord Chancellor. He is being supported in his actions by the Christian Legal Centre.
 

Silenced

Commenting on his suspension, Richard, who has worked in the field of mental health for 20 years, said:

"Two days ago, the Prime Minister distributed an Easter video in which he commended Christians, and the Church for their vital role in society, stating that we are a Christian country and should be proud of it.

However, his Government has brought in laws which effectively silence Christians and remove them from the public square. It would appear no longer possible to be a Christian, to state what the Bible actually says and what the Church has believed for 2,000 years, and maintain a role in public life in today's Britain. My seat on the NHS Trust came as a result of my long service in mental health and total commitment to the NHS – none of that has changed.

"What the Prime Minister, Government and NHS Trust fail to recognise is that the reason why so many Christians make such a huge contribution to society – which they are all keen to acknowledge – is that we are all motivated to do so by our Christian faith and our love for Jesus Christ whose death and resurrection we remembered last weekend."
 

'Marginalised'

Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and founder of the Christian Legal Centre added:

"For the past decade, we at the Christian Legal Centre have been warning that Christians are being marginalised and removed from public life. We have seen it in nursing, in counselling, in teaching, amongst Registrars and now we see it amongst Magistrates and NHS Trust Executives.

"It is time for MPs to take serious note and look afresh at the Equality legislation which was badly drafted and consistently gives more rights to some groups over those of the Christian faith. Yet once again we find Britain's political leaders wiping their hands clean of Christians who are prepared to stand up for their faith. They take no responsibility for what is going on, blaming the Equality Act, citing 'freedoms' and talking of 'diversity' but it's all hot air.

"It is time for MPs and the Government to wake up and see how Christians are being forced out of our nation's public life, and to act before it is too late"


Related News: 
Christian magistrate removed from office to challenge Michael Gove  
Christian magistrate removed from office for belief about family
Watch Richard Page talk to BBC News, following publication of EHRC report  

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