Evangelicals seek ‘right for conscientious objection’ on same-sex marriage

Evangelical Churches says they want ‘conscientious objection’ not only for religious officers but also for members

Malta’s alliance of Christian evangelical churches are claiming that the amendments to marriage laws may not extend “religious protection” to all members of religious bodies.

The amendments that will pave the way for same-sex marriage include “religious protection” in the Constitution of Malta for an “officer of a religious body”.

The Maltese Constitution already grants citizens full freedom of conscience and the right to enjoy the free exercise of religious worship.

“We would like to have the peace of mind that none of our members will be ‘forced’ to act against their conscience, seeing that Article 32(a) states that as Maltese we have ‘freedom of conscience’,” Edwin Caruana, head of TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance of Malta), said.

TEAM is seeking that members of religious organisations be accorded a right akin to ‘conscientious objection’.

“We seek that our rights to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience be respected. We are duty bound to protect our member churches, organizations, and individuals from any attempt to curb or obstruct religious freedom or freedom of conscience which are guaranteed by international human rights laws.”

Caruana said that although TEAM was aware that marriage equality will not affect religious marriage, it was still concerned about religious rights.

“As Christians we believe that according to Biblical teaching, God ordained marriage as a union between one man and one woman for the reason of love and pro-creation. As far as we are concerned no human law will ever erase this, as we believe that God does not change His principles but is constant in His decrees. 

“We also recognize that we have no right to impose our beliefs on those that are not part of our Evangelical Christian churches, but on the same note, no one should have the right to impose on us a redefinition of beliefs that we have held dear for thousands of years! If this was to be imposed on us we would find it unacceptable and infringing on our rights.”

Caruana said that religious protection should not be restricted only to “officers” of churches but also to the individual members. “We request that conscientious objection be applied to all active members pertaining to our Christian churches.”