Pope Benedict wants English and Welsh bishops to fight proposed human rights legislation with "missionary zeal." The Equality Bill, which is pending in Parliament, is intended to combat discrimination on the basis of sex, race, disability, religion, or sexual orientation, but the pontiff argues that "it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded," the Guardian reports.
The pope does praise the British government "for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society." But British clerics are growing increasingly vocal about what they fear will be unintended consequences of the legislation, such as forcing them to employ gays and transsexuals. Anglican bishops lobbied successfully to exempt religious organizations from the bill last week, the Times of London reports, but others fear the provisions could be restored to the measure.