ICC Note: Across Western Europe and in North America, supporters of traditional marriage, including conservative Christians, are finding it increasingly difficult to express their opinions without facing intense cultural pressure. Bryan Barkley, 71, had volunteered with the Red Cross in the United Kingdom for almost two decades until being permanently dismissed for opposing the re-definition of marriage by the UK parliament earlier this year. The dismissal for expressing an opposing point of view on gay marriage is not the first in the United Kingdom, though it may be the first from a non-profit founded and originally operated by Christians.
11/4/2014 United Kingdom (Charisma) – A pensioner has had his “opportunity to volunteer” withdrawn by the British Red Cross because he spoke out against the redefinition of marriage.
Earlier this year, Bryan Barkley, 71, held up signs outside Wakefield Cathedral reading “No Same Sex Marriage” and “No Redefinition of Marriage.” He did so on the day that the first same-sex marriages took place in England.
But he has since been told that his views on marriage are “incompatible” with the “fundamental principles and values” of the Red Cross and that his opportunity to volunteer was being withdrawn “permanently and with immediate effect.”
Barkley, who has volunteered with the Red Cross for nearly 20 years, worked in the international family tracing service, helping to locate and reunite families in the UK with relatives in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and had been involved in 84 cases.
He joined the Red Cross after retiring from his job as a civil engineer. Earlier in the summer he attended a Buckingham Palace garden party with the charity.
‘Freedom of Expression Being Stifled’
Responding to his dismissal, Barkley asked:
“What have I done wrong? I passionately believe that the institution of marriage is between a man and a woman and is the cornerstone of our society. Why is it wrong to say so in public?
“Freedom of expression is being stifled in this country.
“I have nothing against homosexuals. But I don’t believe Parliament was representing the views of the people when it changed the definition of marriage.”
Barkley, who is being supported by the Coalition for Marriage, is appealing the Red Cross’ decision.