Christian doctor sacked for refusing to refer to 'six-foot bearded man' as 'madam' sues for wrongful termination
A tribunal heard that a doctor lost his job in a government department after allegedly refusing to refer to “a six-foot-tall bearded man” as "madam".
Dr. David Mackereth, 56, served as a disability benefits assessor for the Department of Work and Pensions before he was allegedly sacked over his religious beliefs, Telegraph reports.
During a conversation with a line manager, the father of four was allegedly asked: “If you have a man six foot tall with a beard who says he wants to be addressed as "she" and "Mrs" would you do that?”
Upon refusing to use transgendered pronouns, Dr. Mackereth, an evangelist and emergency doctor, reportedly saw his contract terminated.
According to the medical expert, he was dismissed “not because of any realistic concerns over the rights and sensitivities of transgender individuals, but because of my refusal to make an abstract ideological pledge."
Now, the doctor is suing the government in an employment tribunal over discrimination on the grounds of his religious beliefs.
Dr. Mackereth reportedly believes transgenderism is a “delusional belief” and an ideology “which I disbelieve and detest."
“If you believe in gender fluidity, gender is no more than one’s own fantasy about oneself," he told the court in a statement admitted into evidence.
After spending 30 years in the medical field, the "unashamed" Christian and trained theologian secured a job as a health and disability assessor at Birmingham’s Fiveways assessment center in May last year.
However, he was suspended the following month, he told the tribunal, after being "interrogated” by his superior James Owen for refusing to “call any six-foot-tall bearded man ‘madam’ on his whim."
He added he was once warned it was“overwhelmingly likely” he would lose his job unless he agreed to use said pronouns.
Following an email conversation with Owen in which he was ordered to follow the “process as discussed in your training," Dr. Mackereth left his role on June 25, 2018.
“If however, you do not want to do this, we will respect your decision and your right to leave your contract", the email read, with the medic adding, “I am a Christian and in good conscience cannot do what the DWP is requiring of me.”
He is now claiming to be the victim of direct discrimination and harassment.
“The very fact a doctor can be pulled off the shop floor for an urgent interrogation about his beliefs on gender fluidity is both absurd and very sinister, even more so if it results in a dismissal," Dr. Mackereth told the hearing. "If something like that happened in a church setting - people being pulled out of a pew, questioned, and then excommunicated - that would be seen as an outrageous example of religious intolerance and bigotry.”
Meanwhile, the DWP has argued that Dr. Mackereth's views amount to a breach of the 2010 Equality Act.
Furthermore, APM - the recruitment company which hired the doctor - is also facing a lawsuit for religious discrimination. Nonetheless, the firm has maintained the doctor's beliefs “are not compatible with human dignity".
“I appreciate that in the present political climate, some people, including some of those who believe they are transgender, may find my beliefs to be offensive," Dr. Mackereth said in a statement put before the court. "However, in a free society, this is not a good enough reason to censor my beliefs and coerce me to act contrary to my conscience. Moreover, as a doctor, my responsibility is always to act in good conscience in the best interest of the patients - not to adopt various fancies, prejudices, or delusions, to avoid offense at all cost.”
The embattled medical professional also added that he believes transgenderism is a “rebellion against God, which is both pointless and sinful”.
“I am, of course, aware that there are men or women who believe they have been trapped in a wrong body, and I do not question the sincerity of their convictions," he said. "A small number of such people have always existed. Up until recently, such a belief was considered by medics to be delusional and a symptom of a medical disorder. It is only recently that transgenderism has been recognized as normal and such delusional beliefs accepted at face value. What is responsible for that change is political pressure, not scientific evidence.”
Dr. Mackereth is currently backed by the Christian Legal Centre.
Andrea Williams, the organization's chief executive, described him as “a Christian hero who chose to sacrifice his distinguished professional career rather than compromise on the Bible and his conscience”.
The hearing continues.