Christian teacher loses her religious discrimination case

Christian teacher loses her religious discrimination case February 10, 2018

The Christian Legal Centre has suffered yet another loss, this time in regard to the case of Svetlana Powell (inset) a teacher sacked by the T2 Apprenticeship Academy, a government-funded pre-apprenticeship academy in Bristol.
On February 2 we reported that Powell, with the help of Christian Legal Centre lawyer Pavel Stroilov, had lodged a “persecution” claim with an Employment Tribunal, saying she had been unfairly sacked after she expressed her views about homosexuality.
But employment Judge Maxwell, according to this report, this week ruled that the Academy did not discriminate against Powell because of her religious beliefs.
The Judge said Mrs Powell was dismissed:

Because she allowed herself to be drawn into a discussion where she expressed personal religious views … allowed it to escalate and get out of control. She was not dismissed, to any material extent, for her Christian religion or beliefs.

In reply to a question by a 17-year-old student, Powell said that her personal belief was that homosexuality was against God’s will, but that he loved every person, regardless of what they did, or who they were.
Commenting on the outcome of the case, the deranged Internet troll and evangelist Bob Hutton said:

Further evidence of persecution – the judge is an agent of the devil.

Powell is considering appealing the ruling.

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  • Broga

    What never gets focussed on are the reasons for their confidence in their deranged beliefs. They start with the statement of their belief which they imagine is the certain truth. What they never hear – they are not going to read “The God Delusion” – is a critique of the absurdity of the basis for their certainty.
    In passing, the fantasy that each human is precious to God and made in his image takes a bit of a hit in “Sapiens” which I am reading. Everywhere humans spread – Australia and the USA being good examples – they exterminated most of the existing animals. Why would God regard as precious the humans who exterminated most of the animals he created in the first place. Any Christians able to help me on that?

  • AgentCormac

    If the Christian Legal Centre was a proper law firm I sincerely doubt they’d have a single client. Can any other bunch of legal ‘brains’ have such an appalling record?
    BTW, glad to hear you’re still on with Sapiens, Broga. Fascinating stuff, isn’t it?

  • L.Long

    “Powell said that her personal belief was that homosexuality was against God’s will, but that he loved every person, regardless of what they did, or who they were…..”
    She is full of shit, I’ve read her book o’BS and her gawd sends people to hell, some love there!

  • andym

    As usual what’s presented as persecution is an inability to keep their beliefs to themselves at work-another example of the special pleading and sense of entitlement which generally accompanies these nutters.She also seems pretty incompetent at keeping order, as was also suggested before.
    As I said on another thread, I’m not sure how much the defeat will worry Williams et whoever.

  • Tony

    For centuries these Christian halfwits ruled the roost and they can’t accept that the tables are turning. What we now got to do is make sure that Islam doesn’t fill the vacuum.

  • John the Drunkard

    On one hand, Genesis says that God gave Adam dominion over the rest of terrestrial life.
    On the other, Xtians used to deny that extinction was possible. Since God made all the critters, and approved of them, they couldn’t be wiped out.
    That’s why the dodo is such a recognized symbol. For the first time, a species was wiped out by human action under the eye of reporting witnesses.

  • Broga

    AgentCormac: I’m enjoying “Sapiens”. Pleased that I didn’t miss that one. Thanks. The conclusion I have reached so far is that there is no point in expecting anything better from our species and so we had better get used it. Marcus Aurelius took the same view. Plus ca change etc…….

  • RussellW

    Many Christians and Moslems in particular, can’t keep their beliefs to themselves.The efforts made in the conversion of infidels reinforces their deranged world view and prevents introspection.They will never give up until they’re all extinct… the dodo.

  • RussellW

    The issue of the extinction of most of the megafauna in Australia is still not settled.Whether the cause was humans, climate change or both is still indeterminant.
    I’d put money on humans, but I’m not a biologist.

  • StephenJP

    I still think that the full story hasn’t come out. On the face of it, being sacked for responding to a student wind-up in the way Ms Powell says she did seems a bit draconian. If I was talking to a group of apprentices (on…what? What was Ms Powell’s speciality?), and was asked about my views on, say, faith schools, I hope I would respond honestly; but I wouldn’t expect to be sacked for saying they should be abolished. Still something unexplained here.
    Still, the CLC has lost again. As AgentCormac points out, their record is one of almost unrelieved failure. How long before their sugar-daddy (or whoever supplies the ackers) pulls the plug?

  • tonye

    I think, in future, any and all christians who have work based problems, should represent themselves.
    They could not do any worse than CLC.

  • John

    Maybe we should establish a Freethinkers’ Legal Centre and offer to represent all “persecuted” religionists?
    After all, we could not do any worse than CLC.
    Could we?

  • 1859

    Anyone who has worked with adolescents knows they can be the most annoying specialists in winding up adults. I agree with StephenJP – if we were flies on the wall of her classroom we might just have some sympathy for Ms Powell , but we don’t know the facts. If she did express her personal views after being asked some provocative questions by students and was for this reason sacked, I personally think that would have been a bit harsh. If, on the other hand, she did launch into a Jesus tirade saying gay people were an abomination and should be publicly castrated, then of course, she should not be allowed anywhere near young people.
    @broga: the book ‘Sapiens’ is based on a series of about 20 lectures given online by Harari about 4 or 5 years ago. The site was called ‘Coursera’. The passion of his delivery was spellbinding. I watched every lecture once a week over about 3 months and was enthralled. When the book came out I wasn’t surprised it became a bestseller. He has since followed it up withe another book called ‘Homo Deus’ which tries to project into the future what might become of humanity – ‘if ‘ we make the right decisions !

  • Bubblecar

    StephenJP: The fact that she responded to a student wind-up by prolonging the debate and siding with one side is why she was sacked.
    By doing so she very likely alienated gay and atheist students to the extent that she’s no longer much use as a teacher.
    She is supposed to be in charge of class discipline and should have shut down the dispute, not joined in. It was clearly not part of the work the students were supposed to be doing.
    If your students were to ask your opinion of faith schools, you should make it clear that as a teacher you’re not entitled to subject your class to your personal views on controversial topics.
    And then remind them that they’re here to work, not chat 🙂

  • Broga

    RussellW : One of the attractions of “Sapiens” is that it offers a balanced view (not what you get from Christians) and it covers the possibilities you mention. The reader can decide. “Sapiens” also offers for consideration the examples of other countries where massive extinctions follow homo sapiens arrival: eg USA, Madagascar, New Zealand.

  • RussellW

    It’s definitely on my reading list.

  • Broga

    RussellW: I’m reading it on Kindle.
    I read in this week’s “New Scientist” that the clown Trump has said, “I hope all sharks die” (p.24). The article goes on to describe the disastrous effects on the sea – and us. Trump, the hero of fundamentalist Christians, is a planetary disaster.

  • andym

    We don’t know how often students were successfully diverting her off-topic. If she was so anxious her religious views were proselytised, she could have started an after-school Bible class, although I doubt she’d have to have booked too big a room for it.
    At the risk of repeating myself, it could be the actual ruling in these cases is largely irrelevant to the CLC and its backer(s), compared to the publicity generated to reinforce the Christian persecution myth.

  • cnocspeireag

    Broga, it’s easy to focus on Trump rather than the root cause. Fundamentalist Christians are the planetary disaster, a waste of oxygen and nutrients.

  • Broga

    cnocspeireag : Spot on. And any criticism from atheists is described as persecution.

  • G Zimmermann

    If only the “17 year old” had the wherewithal to ask for the evidence how Powell can claim that what she has read is “god’s word”.