Christian doctor Jereth Kok, banned for social media, gets his day in court
After two years of being unable to work, Christian doctor Jereth Kok is getting his chance to appeal a suspension.
Kok was suspended due to comments on social media including an Eternity article, which was one of 30 pieces of media cited by the Medical Board of Australia in suspending his right to practice while an investigation took place.
The allegation is that his online media commentary amounted to professional misconduct.
” Now, in August 2021, the Medical Board has finally advised that the investigation is complete and that Jereth’s case will go to the Victorian State Administrative Tribunal for trial,” the Human Rights Law Alliance (HRLA)reports.
“HRLA will be representing Jereth, together with a team of barristers and experts, in a case which has wide-ranging implications for religious freedom, the powers of regulators to police personal speech through vague codes of conduct, the intrusion of cancel culture into law and the right to a fair trial.
“Up until 2019, Jereth was widely recognised as a good doctor. For almost 15 years he had practiced medicine as a GP in Melbourne and he did his job well. He was liked and respected by colleagues and patients, and never received any complaints about his clinical practice. That all changed in 2019 after complaints were made to the Medical Board by anonymous activists about Jereth’s political and Christian posts on social media.”
HRLA. a Christian charitable law firm set up to protect and advance religious freedom, regards Kok’s case as an important free speech case.
Jereth Kok tells Eternity that “I hope for a fair trial, for the false accusations to be dispelled, and for a good outcome in terms of every Christian’s freedom to contend for their beliefs, including beliefs that are opposed to the zeitgeist.” This includes Christian beliefs on transgender.
The complaints did not come from Kok’s patients. He had practiced for 11 years with no formal complaints. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal VCAT noted in a report in March 2020 “No evidence was placed before us to show that in his actual practice Dr. Kok has not endeavoured to protect and promote the health of individuals and the wider community. No evidence was placed before us to show that when consulting with his patients, Dr. Kok does compromise their best interests.”
Kok, a Christian who is a cultural conservative, was accused of “Denigrating, demeaning and slurring medical practitioners” who had different views on:
• Terminations of pregnancy
• Gender dysphoria
• Commentary expressing and encouraging views regarding LGBQTI persons “contrary to accepted medical practice” and/or is “demeaning”.
Thousands of posts over ten years were reviewed by the Medical Board.
The saga of what Kok wrote for Eternity, as part of a discussion on transgender, is summarised here.
Last week Kok recalled the day he heard about his suspension for Bill Muelenberg’s culturewatch radio podcast. “I was at work, I was in my consulting room, [when] I got an urgent phone call from a lawyer helping me at the time. … he said ‘I have an urgent call for you Jereth, and a very bad one. The Medical Board has contacted us today and said they propose to immediately suspend your registration and remove you from practice. And you have got four days to respond to that.’ I had two or three more patients to see that day.. and I somehow managed to get through that. It was very stressful but I managed to do it. And then I had to go on and face this thing.”
“There are a lot of things that are bad but the thing that makes me upset and angry is that [effect] it had on my patients. I had hundreds of patients, very loyal, and many elderly, with complicated medical conditions who I had looked after for many years. All of a sudden I was gone and I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for many of them.”
In the weeks following two of Kok’s patients died, and he was unable to comfort the relatives. Kok adds “At one stage they tried to say that I provided a lesser standard of care to LGBT patients because of statements I had made but they had to withdraw that allegation because it simply was not true, and they had no evidence.”
HRLA reports that Kok’s hearing is likely to occur in mid to late 2022. The Medical Board will argue that Jereth’s social media posts constitute professional misconduct and that his registration as a doctor should be cancelled.
“Effectively, Jereth has already been cancelled, HRLA says. He has not practiced medicine for two years. His medical career is largely ruined, and he has not even had his day in Court yet or a real opportunity to defend himself.
“But that day is now fast approaching.”
Prayerpoints from the givesendgo fundraising site
- Please pray for Dr Jereth Kok and his legal team. Ask God to provide them with the finances, resources and expertise that they need.
- Pray for Christian health workers, as they face a landscape that is increasingly hostile to faith. For eg. legalisation of euthanasia, and pressure to cooperate with “gender reassignments”.
- Pray that Australian Governments would prioritise the protection of religious adherents who speak on matters of faith and conscience.