A homophobic policeman says that because his religious beliefs involve homophobia, he’s effectively being discriminated against:
Graham Cogman, a constable with 15 years experience, is taking action against Norfolk Police as he claims he was victimised for refusing to wear a pink ribbon on his uniform to mark a “gay pride” event, and for questioning the force’s stance towards gay men and lesbians.
The 49-year churchgoer, who circulated emails to officers quoting the biblical stance on homosexuality being a sin, claims he is being singled out because of his beliefs. The force has responded by saying it will not tolerate any “homophobic behaviour”.
PC Cogman, a father of two, said reconciling his religious beliefs with his job was becoming more difficult because the force’s stance on homosexuality was at odds with his religious views. “The blatant support for homosexual rights in Norfolk Police makes being a Christian officer extremely difficult,” he said, “I am not undertaking this action lightly but I have to make a stand when things become so blatantly biased against me just because I hold a faith.”
His complaint stems from a circular email sent to officers in early 2005 encouraging staff to wear a pink ribbon on their uniforms during Gay History Month. After receiving the email, PC Cogman sent a reply to his fellow officers featuring biblical quotations about homosexuality being a sin. He objected again the following year when a similar email was again sent to officers.
Yes, the bible does say homosexuality is a sin. However, the British police are there to enforce British law, not to enforce the benighted rantings of a primitive people that lived thousands of years ago. Cogman knew that when he started his job. He also knew — or should have known — that British law and the policies of the police are not always in accordance with what the bible says. For example, the bible says that it’s wrong to wear clothes made of mixed fabrics (Leviticus 19:19) and OK to enslave people as long as they are foreigners (Leviticus 25:44-46). However, the police won’t arrest you for wearing a polyester-cotton shirt, and they will arrest you if you try to enslave people.
Yet Cogman for some reason doesn’t seem too bothered by those instances where police policy is at odds with the bible. Maybe his homophobia isn’t actually caused by his relgious beliefs, but instead he’s just using them to bolster his bigotry.
This is not, of course, an isolated incident. For example, recently the registrar Lilian Ladele refused to perform civil partnership ceremonies, then claimed her employer was victimising her for her beliefs.
People are entitled to think what they like and do what they like. If someone in their private life chooses not to associate with gay people, that’s up to them. But employment isn’t like that. When someone becomes an employee, they agree to do what their employer tells them to for 8 hours a day, in return for being given money. They no longer have the right to do what they like, because they have sold that right. If they decide that the job they are paid to do conflicts with their principles, the honourable thing would be to resign from their job and get another one.