Thoughts on the Cogman case

It seems that quite a lot of reaction is building up concerning the case of PC Cogman who has been sacked from Norfolk Police for using the internal email system to express his Christian belief that homosexual acts are sinful.

This is clearly a case of one right being allowed to "trump" another. Some observers have said that he should not be allowed to use his employer's email system to express his views; but the occasion for him doing so was the use of his employer's facilities in order to express a strong pro-gay view by heavily promoting "Gay History Month" and putting pressure on officers to wear a pink ribbon.

According to the law as it now stands, it is an offence to discriminate against homosexual people by refusing to provide goods and services. While it is only to be expected that the Police Service will enforce this, the law does not require the Police Service to issue pink ribbons and "Gay History Month" literature any more than it requires the distribution of bibles or prayer cards.

Since the facilities of the Police Service have been given over to promoting pink ribbons and "Gay History Month", PC Cogman was entirely within his rights to use the internal email system to promote the alternative, Christian, view of the matter: that one should hate the sin but love the sinner, and that homosexual acts are sinful. Indeed, it can reasonably be presumed that as a someone holding to traditional Christian morality, PC Cogman believes that all sexual acts outside of marriage are sinful.

Some have characterised one of his communications as sending material about "curing" homosexuality. In fact, there are many Christian groups who take the view that homosexuality is not necessarily a fixed condition but that with prayer, friendship and sympathetic counselling, a person may be able to change. Whatever one thinks of this view, it should not be ruled out a priori as "discriminatory" or even as harrassment.

Some Police Officers will have strongly pro-gay views, others will have traditional Christian views. In the former case, you are not only allowed to express your views freely, but you will be given liaison officers and part of the police budget will be made available for the promotion of your views. In the latter case you are not only not allowed to express your views freely but you will be sacked if you do.

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