A doctor in the U.K. who said he was fired five years ago for refusing to use a hypothetical patient’s preferred pronouns is continuing his battle to overturn the dismissal.
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Dr. David Mackereth, a physician previously with the U.K.’s Department for Work and Pensions, said there was “no living or real patient involved” when he stated his sincerely-held views on gender.
“I was just asked … ‘If a six-foot tall bearded man came in and said, ‘Refer to me as ‘misses’ or ‘she,’ would you do it?'” Mackereth said. “And I had to say, ‘As a Christian in good conscience, I cannot do that.”
The doctor said he knew there would be a cost for openly sharing his perspective, but felt he had to stand by his Christian beliefs regardless. Within weeks, Mackereth was dismissed from his position.
“This was five years ago but … things have been moving very, very slowly since then,” he said. “It seems very hard to get justice in a case of this sort.”
Mackereth believes the decision to terminate him was wrong and he’s continuing his legal battle to overturn it, noting the government failed, in his view, to honor his religious beliefs.
“The government … made it absolutely clear that I was to use pronouns in a way that nobody had ever told me I had to use them before,” he said. “And that there would be consequences if I didn’t use them like that.”
Watch Mackereth tell his story:
But Mackereth said it would have been an “absolute lie to use transgender pronouns,” thus he accepted the penalty for his purported refusal to bend to their whims. At first, the decision was scary, as it left the doctor uncertain how he would care for his family.
“When I lost my job, I was staring into the financial abyss, wondering how to provide for my family,” he said. “I was absolutely sure I’d done the right thing … but there was definitely that situation where I did not know what was going to happen.”
Mackereth said he trusted God to help him and his family, and that reliance paid off. A previous employer contacted him within a month of his loss of employment and asked him to return, a development he called “amazing.”
And after Mackereth pondered what happened to him, he decided to take legal action.
“At the beginning, I realized that what had happened to me was rather important and it affected freedom of speech,” he said, noting the case has implications for every human being in the U.K. “It’s freedom from forced speech.”
Mackereth connected with the Christian Legal Centre and the organization began defending him to overturn the firing. Beyond that, though, he also sees a broader mission of helping some of the wrongs he believes are unfolding amid a confused culture.
“We’ve been working shoulder to shoulder together on this, but, more recently, when we now see what’s happening [with] children in schools — when little girls here in the United Kingdom can be told, ‘You might be a boy’ or little boys are told, ‘You could become a girl.’ And I felt, as a doctor … that the teacher should never be saying that to children.”
Mackereth believes the medical profession has remained too silent and said he’s “ashamed” of experts’ refusal to speak out “when children are … being harmed.”
“I felt … that our profession [is] responsible for that because we know very well that a person cannot change sex,” Mackereth said. “It’s just that we choose to go with a political flow and not to stand up for the obvious truth.”
As for his own legal battle, Mackereth lost his first appeal, claiming the tribunal essentially said his Christian beliefs are “not compatible with human dignity.” Later, a second higher court ruled his views “are acceptable” but purportedly didn’t afford protections from the firing.
That’s why Mackereth is taking his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, seeking clarification and to right what he believes is a very clear and present wrong.
“We want to know whether we are free from compelled speech, and we want vindication,” Mackereth said. “We want them to say that there was nothing wrong in saying that, ‘I’m sorry, but because of my Christian convictions, I cannot use the English language in that way.'”
In the end, Mackereth said it’s time for all believers to take a stand.
“I believe, passionately, that Christians have to stand up, not just me, but all Christians have to stand up and speak out,” he said.
Mackereth said he has a strong case. Watch the above interview for more.
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