UK Liberal Democrats oust candidate over his Christian beliefs in a ‘breach of equality law’ – LifeSite

(LifeSiteNews) — Members of the Liberal Democrats Party in the United Kingdom (UK) are sounding the alarm over the deselection of one of their Member of Parliament (MP) candidates, which they say is due to his Christian faith and a breach of equality law.

The concerned members have lodged a complaint with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over the party’s treatment of David Campanale, an Anglican and award-winning veteran BBC journalist who has been targeted at least in part due to his Christian faith.

The Lib Dem whistleblowers have accused the party of having fostered a “hostile environment” for religious people and “emboldened those who believe Christians should be driven out of public life,” according to The Telegraph.

Campanale shared in November 2022 that after he was “overwhelmingly selected” for a Liberal Democrats selection “in a top target parliamentary seat,” he was called to the home of the party’s honorary president and was asked beforehand, “Are you ready for the Spanish Inquisition?” 

“I went into this room of a member of the House of Lords. There were 30 people there, and I was led to a chair in the bay window. I was then subjected to a two-hour interrogation about my Christian views. This is not acceptable,” Campanale told Premier Christianity. 

“While I was there, people were mocking me, saying, ‘I suppose you think you’re being persecuted, like Jesus was?’ One person said, “you’re a liar,” because I didn’t disclose my Christian beliefs and background in my election literature,” Campanale said.

He further shared that when he was asked to tell his interrogators more about his Christian faith, he said that he follows the “example of people like Tim Farron, and pro-life Christians, like former party leader Charles Kennedy and former party president Shirley Williams.”

“The response of this mob was to say, ‘Well, they’re dead. They’re the past. We are building a secular party,’” Campanale revealed.

The former MP candidate was also previously involved with the Christian People’s Alliance, which has campaigned against abortion and homosexual “marriage.” However, Campanale left the CPA in 2012 and says he “did not agree with its tone or priorities,” according to The Telegraph.

Tim Farron, who was cited by Campanale as a political inspiration, resigned as a Liberal Democrat leader after undergoing an apparently similar interrogation over his Christian beliefs. Farron said at the time in 2017 that he felt living as a Christian was incompatible with leading a “progressive, liberal” party.

“The consequences of the focus on my faith is that I have found myself torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader,” Farron said in a televised statement, according to The Guardian.

“To be a political leader – especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 – and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me,” he added.

He had shared that he was grilled on questions such as whether he believed homosexual sex to be a sin, remarking in light of this hostile interrogation, “We are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society.”

Nasser Butt, the founder and chairman of Lib Dem Muslim Forum, shared in an appeal against the deselection seen by The Telegraph that he was informed by a party activist in early 2022 that there was “considerable opposition from Party’s Youth groups in London Region lead by some LGBT youth”.

He was told that Campanale’s “past activities and beliefs with the CPA was questionable and made him unsuitable.”

Juliet Chaplin of Sutton Borough Liberal Democrats’ Cheam branch has similarly affirmed that it is “clear that objections to David’s position … are based entirely on his Christian faith.”

The Guardian reported that “only the 64 members who attended the (Extraordinary General Meeting) in person and 29 who attended via Zoom were allowed to vote” on Campanale’s deselection, which Butt has suggested is invalid.

Butt, who attended online but did not vote since he could not sufficiently hear the proceedings, alleged in his appeal that the meeting broke several party rules and that there was “no clear evidence or reasons” for the vote of no confidence.

In their complaint letter to the EHRC, party members who support Campanale have called for an investigation into “multiple alleged breaches of equality law and our party constitution,” alleging that evidence depicts a supposedly liberal organisation allowing clear religious discrimination and hostility to thrive within its ranks.”

“It suggests that Mr Campanale was driven out from his democratically elected position not because of any objective failings or wrongdoing but because a vocal group within SBLD [Sutton Borough Liberal Democrats] refused to tolerate his Christian worldview.”

“Although Mr Campanale has submitted evidence of religious discrimination, harassment and victimisation perpetrated against him to party authorities at all levels over a two-year period, no appropriate action has been taken. We believe that only an external investigation by the EHRC can now secure justice,” the letter concluded.

The EHRC is currently reviewing the complaint, according to The Guardian.

Top political figures are backing Campanale, including former justice minister Sir Simon Hughes, who has slammed the former BBC journalist’s deselection as coming from a “kangaroo court.”

In addition, Lord Marks KC, the Lib Dems’ justice spokesman in the House of Lords, has declared that Campanale was “deselected on the basis of a procedure that was seriously non-compliant with the Rules and fundamentally flawed”.

The barrister further asserted that the treatment of Campanale violated his party’s principles, which state that they “reject all prejudice and discrimination based upon race … religion or belief”.

In an op-ed for The Telegraph, Tom Harris argued that the deselection of Campanale is “merely the latest incident” showing that Christians are the “most despised minority in Britain.”

“It’s ironic, not to mention entertaining, that the very people who most enthusiastically embraced multiculturalism are the same people having the most difficulty navigating its consequences,” Harris remarked. 

“The simple fact is that the Left is only capable of tolerating politicians who are “tick-box” Christians. Sir Ed Davey, the leader of their party, presents no problems for the party because he doesn’t wear his religion on his sleeve. He is not a God-botherer in the same way that Campanale, Farron and Forbes are. He keeps his faith to himself. To do otherwise, to state that you actually believe in Jesus Christ as your personal saviour – well, that’s just unacceptable, isn’t it?”

Harris pointed out that UK politics practices hypocrisy, since it is permissible to tear apart a politician for being an outspoken and sincere Christian, but it is unacceptable to treat Muslims, for example, the same way.

“Double standards are nothing new to the world of politics. But when our political establishment discriminates against Christians while failing to apply the same standards to other religions, something very serious has gone wrong with our democracy,” Harris concluded.

LifeSiteNews contacted the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum for comment but has not yet received a response.

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