Magistrate Removed from Office, Suspended from NHS Trust, for Christian Belief in Traditional Family

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: March 29, 2016

A Christian magistrate Richard Page has been removed from office by the Lord Chancellor after sharing his personal conviction in a media interview that there is not enough evidence to show that placing children in the care of same-sex couples is in their best interest.

Mr Page, who for 15 years has been a magistrate and sat on the Family Panel of the Kent Central Magistrates Court, had less than a month to run as a Justice of the Peace.  The interview for which Mr Page was dismissed occurred as part of a TV debate about Christians being squeezed out of public life. The BBC package followed research conducted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission about challenges to freedom of religion and belief in the UK. Mr Page was first challenged by his seniors in late 2014 when, after hearing an adoption case, he 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'. Mr Page came to his decision having weighed the evidence presented to the Court and therefore, in good conscience, could not vote to make the order. He was subsequently reported for his actions, reprimanded, and forced to attend 're-education training', which he duly did. Mr Page believes the political move by the government to place children with same-sex couples lacks any solid, reliable psychological or educational research concerning the effects on children. Mr Page's media comments were again brought to the attention of his seniors and an investigation was carried out by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office's disciplinary panel. They recommended to the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor that Mr Page should be removed from office. After his removal as magistrate, Mr Page was then suspended by an NHS Trust from his post as a non-executive director. Commenting on his suspension, Mr Page 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." Source: Christian Concern - here and here.