‘Persecuted’ Christians jubilant over rare UK court victory

‘Persecuted’ Christians jubilant over rare UK court victory July 4, 2019

ANDREA Minichiello Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre – an outfit that has suffered defeat after defeat in cases involving Christians sacked for their mainly homophobic bigotry – is crowing over the outcome of the case of trainee social worker Felix Ngole.

Williams and Ngoli. Images via YouTube/Christian Concern

Ngoli was thrown off a Sheffield University social work course after being accused of posting derogatory comments about gay and bisexual people on Facebook. With the help of Williams and her cohorts he challenged his expulsion, but at a high court trial in London in 2017 a judge Rowena Collins Rice ruled against him.

However, this week Rice’s ruling was overturned on appeal by Lord Justice Irwin, Lord Justice Haddon-Cave and Sir Jack Beatson who said the university should reconsider Ngole’s case, prompting Williams to say:

I am delighted by this victory for free speech. The judges in the Court of Appeal have ruled in favour of Felix Ngole and against the university, saying that he should not have been expelled merely for expressing his Christian views. His expulsion was a serious violation of free speech that threatened Christians and others with a bar to employment for expressing what the Bible says about sexual ethics.


She blathered on about the university endorsing:

Something akin to a totalitarian regime where people are reported to the state authorities by informants for expressing politically incorrect views. As it was, Felix’s Facebook posts were anonymously reported to the university by someone with a clear political agenda.


Image via YiouTube/Christian Concern

She said that Christian Concern’s co-founder, Pastor Ade Omooba MBE, above, attended meetings with the university in order to try to resolve the conflict.

The judges supported what Pastor Omooba said and agreed with his description of the university’s position that ‘the University was insisting that Felix cannot express his Christian beliefs on homosexuality in any forum except at a private setting’.

She pointed out that the judges said:

It is unfortunate that at no stage did the University grasp the olive branch proffered by Pastor Omooba.

Williams then said:

I hope that this judgment brings a return to common sense about what is acceptable for students and professionals to express on social media, in churches or elsewhere.
  This judgment must send a resounding message to universities and employers across the land. Christians and others should be allowed to express their views. This is what free speech means. No one has freedom not to be offended.

We must be able to disagree with tolerance, and not with silencing or bullying. Places of work, and universities in particular, should not be places where certain views are deemed politically incorrect and worthy of expulsion.

This judgment means that we are free to speak, free to express Christian views, to advocate for those views at university, in the classroom, and at work.
 

Christians should use our freedom of speech and unashamedly proclaim Biblical truth, however unpopular or out of fashion it may be. The truth will win out in the end. We hope that this judgment encourages Christians to be bold and fearless in expressing their Christian faith at work, at university, in church or elsewhere. All truth is found in Jesus Christ.  As Christians we are called to serve others and to care for everyone, yet publicly and privately we must also be free to express our beliefs and what the Bible says without fear of losing our livelihoods.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Duncan R. Bryson

    You said the judgement was that the university should “reconsider” their action. This does not sound like the plaintiff has actually been readmitted to the course – clarification?
    Despite any legal wrangling and the entitlement of someone to hold any particular views, the student does not seem a suitable candidate to be a social worker. Not unless he could demonstrate an ability to suppress his views when acting in a professional capacity should he go on to such employment. By following his beliefs in such a capacity he could be biased and not provide an inclusive service. Was this the reason for removing him from the course?

  • WrathPanda

    The programme at Sheffield is accredited by the Health & Care Professionals Council. As such, students may have to adhere to the standards of conduct, performance and ethics of the HCPC whilst studying for the programme. The most relevant sections would likely be 1.5 and 1.6 of the standards, titled “Challenge discrimination”. They state:

    1.5 You must not discriminate against service users, carers or colleagues by allowing your personal views to affect your professional relationships or the care, treatment or other services that you provide.

    1.6 You must challenge colleagues if you think that they have discriminated against, or are discriminating against, service users,carers and colleagues.

    https://www.hcpc-uk.org/standards/standards-of-conduct-performance-and-ethics/

    I’m guessing that the student in question was removed from programme after a fitness to practice panel evaluated the situation. In Nursing & Health programmes, this is Serious Business and the panel will have weighed things against the HCPC standards and clearly found the student wanting.

    There is also 1.7 of the standards:

    Maintain appropriate boundaries

    1.7 You must keep your relationships with service users and carers professional.

    Given said student’s proclivity for spouting his beliefs on social media, can we be certain that he would be able to keep his mouth shut to those individuals he was working with as a social worker?

  • Delta

    “We must be able to disagree with tolerance”

    If the subject of your disagreement with me is on our answers to questions like “Is it okay for people like me to exist?” then I’m not sure how we can “disagree with tolerance.”

    Employers checking employees’ social media and making decisions based on what they find is nothing exclusive to Christians homophobia. Sorry, you have to play by the same rules as the rest of us in this regard.

  • Jim Jones

    Ngoli seems incapable of grasping the concept of tolerance, while he himself is a minority and likely to suffer prejudice.

  • Anri

    “How can we be expected to act like good Christians if we can’t bash gays?!?”

  • Brian Shanahan

    My guess it could very well be like the Nadia Elawaiya (sp?) case, where the Egyptian BA stewardess was fired for her constant preaching and homophobic comments to staff & passengers. She partially won her case on the part about wearing religious iconography and won £6,000 including costs. The Christian Defence crowd were crowing for ages over that one, managing to get national newspapers to report on their “total victory” and all. But when you read the judgement, you find she only won on that small bit, and then only because BA in an attempt to compromise had already allowed her to wear religious symbols. Her sacking was upheld.

  • Broga

    I wonder if his colleagues will accept him? I assume there are some social workers who are gay and bi sexual.

  • WrathPanda

    Freedom of speech does not equate to freedom from repercussions. He spouted his “deeply held religious beliefs”, which were found to be in breach of the rules of conduct of the HCPC and likely Sheffield university’s own policies on equality and paid the price for it. It was his choice.

    The “queers” as you so delicately put it, are not forcing anyone to agree with them. I’m sure they’d be more than happy for the rest of the world to not think that they have the right to vomit religious dogma in their faces about them going down below for something that they have no control over. The poor “diddums” should have rightly told him to take his homophobic nonsense and shove it, cos, hey! Free speech and all that.

  • Broga

    ” does not sound like the plaintiff has actually been readmitted”

    It will do. If the merest tendril of a possibility appears they will seize it and claim a great victory. That is all they have. As usual, his views will start to be recast as only being expressed in private, not quite as vicious as they sounded etc…. He is a fundamentalist and there is no way they can keep their mouth shut on their mission to save other people’s fantasy souls.

    As a social worker he will be working with the least able to defend themselves and most vulnerable and that includes children. How can this bigot be let loose, paid for by public money, on such vulnerable people. This isn’t about his job, it is about leaving him free to damage those he should be helping.

  • Duncan R. Bryson

    A more detailed response than I’d expected. Thanks for all the info.

  • ManxStuart

    Does it really matter if he gets back on the course (apart from the waste of public money)? Seriously?

    No local or national agency is ever going to employ the bigot. Public opinion will make sure that he can’t work anywhere without every outlet from Facebook to the local paper and radio revealing who he is, what he thinks, and why he shouldn’t be in the same room as any vulnerable person.

    Best offer he’s going to get from now on is zero hours at a MacDonalds – if he’s lucky.

  • Barry Duke
  • Martin Penwald

    As a social worker he will be working with the least able to defend themselves and most vulnerable and that includes children.

    It’s the main concern. He doesn’t study to become cars vendor or realtor.

  • Martin Penwald

    How dare you be intolerant of my intolerance!!

    Do you realise your position is absolutely ridiculous? Let me rephrase it your way:

    Tolerance must work both ways.

    The trouble is that people of color want a situation where everyone is forced to agree with them.

    The poor diddums should show the same respect for the free speech of others, that they demand for themselves.

  • Sau Peih

    Where is the “forcing to agree with them”? It’s the religious who are doing the forcing. Everywhere religion is rammed down our throats. If someone wants the right to exist and another person wants the right for that person not to exist, how does tolerance of each other’s view work both ways?

  • Amused To Death

    So long as he gets to punch down somewhere it’s okay.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    Yup. His fiefdom need not be vast, just his.

  • Astreja

    No, Eric — absolutely no one should tolerate an individual who tries to intimidate them with threats of eternal torture.

  • Jennny

    And don’t forget that in the UK, we have professional bodies and professional standards councils whose rules, legally, must be obeyed before anyone can practise medicine, law, education and much else. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I think in the USA, anyone can set themselves up in some trades and professions – I read of ‘Birthing Centres’ where non-medics made a living by having women give birth in their non-regulated premises, which in one case was their converted garage. Couldn’t happen in the UK. If this obnoxious bigot does manage to qualify as a social worker, there will be plenty of folk in secular Britain keeping an eye on him ready to report him and I think he himself will realise he needs to watch his step in future.

  • persephone

    Most of the laws in the U.S. regarding these matters are not federally mandated. States often have quite different laws, which many people find out about the hard way.

  • 24CaratHooligan

    I wouldn’t have used that particular phrase. In order to show the true grotesquerie of Eric’s repsonse there’s a much more visceral word that could have been used there….