A Christian physician in Britain who lost his job after he said he would refuse to call a bearded man who is six feet tall "madam” has warned that his case indicates Christians could be on “the verge of committing a hate crime for simply using the wrong pronoun.”
Dr. David Mackereth, who had worked as an emergency doctor for the National Health Service for 26 years, claimed during a recent tribunal he was removed from his job with the Department of Work and Pensions in late June 2018 over his religious convictions.
In a recent interview with The Daily Mail, the doctor warned the outcome of his case could have significant legal implications for all Christians — and especially those in the medical profession.
“Someone who presents quite obviously as male is entitled to say ‘Call me Mrs’ or ‘Call me she,’ but the question is, am I legally obliged to do that? And if you are legally obliged to refer to patients in a way your conscience does not allow, does that mean you are no longer fit to be a doctor?” he asked.
“This case is all about whether I am legally clear to say — on the grounds of my religious conscience — No, I can’t call you ‘she’ or ‘he,’ not because I want to hurt you or don’t accept you, but because my Christian convictions simply won’t allow me to do that.”
Mackereth warned that redefining words like “he” and “she” and using them in an arbitrary manner renders them meaningless.
“Add to that the legal sanctions if you misgender someone, and I believe we have a very complicated and troubling problem on our hands,” he said. “We could be on the verge of committing a hate crime for simply using the wrong pronoun.”
In May 2018, Mackereth was asked in a conversation with a line manager: “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?”
Mackereth, who now works as an emergency doctor in Shropshire, claimed during the hearing last week he was ultimately fired “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.”
Backed by The Christian Legal Centre, the father-of-four is now suing the government at an employment tribunal for discrimination on the grounds of his religious belief. He claims the DWP breached the Equality Act and his right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
However, the government agency contends that his faith-based views are not compatible with "human dignity" as set forth in current law, specifically the 2010 Equality Act, according to the BBC.
Mackereth said that while he has a “massive groundswell of support,” it’s tempered by a “climate of fear.”
“There are multitudes of doctors and nurses who are very concerned because when we are compelled to do something we disagree with — contrary to our beliefs — we lose our integrity,” he explained.
“The transgender movement, which has now been accepted by the mainstream, has for many of us suddenly come out of nowhere and we are expected to believe and accept it.”
The doctor lamented that the transgender movement is being “pushed on society with great rapidity without taking the time to listen to what people have to say.”
“It’s almost like a form of moral coercion,” he said.
Mackereth acknowledged that some people — Christians among them — sincerely believe they were born trapped in the wrong body and emphasized he believes it’s their right to hold a different view and freely express it.
“If a person has a genuine dysphoria and they believe they are trapped in the wrong body with considerable conviction, I can’t answer the question as to whether that is true or not,” he said.
“All I can say is that I don’t believe you can change sex and I don’t believe you can be trapped in the wrong body, but I accept that they believe both and there should be no hesitation on my part in treating such people.”
While he has “great compassion” for all patients, Mackereth said he “cannot change the fact that, as a Bible-believing Christian, I hold that God made people male and female and that this cannot change.”