Saturday, 17 November 2007

Revd Joel Edwards joins the Equality and Human Rights Commission

From Mark Vernon:
"The Rev'd Joel Edwards, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, has been appointed to serve as one of the commissioners on the new Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). It is a move that has surprised many since Edwards represents a constituency - including conservative and fundamentalist Christians - that is one of the most rabidly anti-gay in the country."
Mark is somewhat concerned about what this appointment represents as "the EHRC must certainly engage with deniers as it furthers its causes, but not necessarily have them on the board to do so". It isn't clear just what the role of an EHRC commissioner is*, or on what grounds they are recruited. I can see why Mark is concerned but, given the disparate groups the EHRC represents, perhaps it is inevitable that there will be conflicts between them. I think we'll just have to wait and see what the results of this appointment, and the creation of the EHRC will be.


"Under the provisions of the Act in appointing Commissioners the Secretary of State shall:

a. appoint an individual only if the Secretary of State thinks that the individual:
i. has experience or knowledge relating to a relevant matter, or
ii. is suitable for appointment for some other special reason, and

b. have regard to the desirability of the Commissioners together having experience and knowledge relating to the relevant matters (this is defined as discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, gender, gender re-assignment, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation and human rights)."

"Joel Edwards has served on a number of faith, government and public agency advisory groups and is a regular broadcaster for UK and international media. He is the current General Director of the Evangelical Alliance and is Chair of Micah Challenge International and the Churches Media Council. He was a probation officer for 14 years with the Inner London Probation Service before his appointment as the General Secretary for the African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance in 1988. Joel is an honorary Canon of St Paul's Cathedral and has an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews."

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