People of Faith Under Persecution in “Tolerant” UK

The same sex marriage fight has brought several things to the forefront as I watch the various news threads go by.  The war between secularism and faith is increasingly real.  In a perfect world, we would all be able to live as we choose, believe as we choose…. right?  As long as it doesn’t hurt another, the right to believe as we choose is a treasured right and privilege—one that has been treasured here in the U.S. for generations.  In fact, our nation was built on the premise that people had a basic right to believe how they chose.

Given that understanding, how can the “enlightened” nations increasingly favor the religion of secularism to the detriment of all others?  Consider this story out of the UK:

British Christian Teacher Sacked after Offering to Pray for Ill Student

LONDON, January 4, 2010, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Christian teacher in the UK has been added to the long and growing list of British Christians who have faced disciplinary or legal action for expressing their beliefs. Olive Jones, 54, is being defended by the Christian Legal Centre after she was sacked for offering to pray for a student suffering from leukaemia.

Jones, a home-visit teacher, gave lessons in mathematics to children who are too ill to attend school. When on a visit with a sick student, she spoke to the child’s mother and offered to pray for the daughter. When she was told that the family were not believers, she dropped the subject, but the mother complained and Jones lost her job with Oak Hill Short Stay School and Tuition Service in Nailsea, North Somerset.

Her employers said that the offer of prayer could have been regarded as “bullying.” Jones now fears that the incident has marked her and will damage her future employment prospects.

Jones said that her offer of prayer is being treated like “a criminal act”: “It is like a black mark against my name and character when it comes to getting a reference for another job, just because I shared my testimony.”

“If I had done something criminal, I believe the reaction would have been the same,” she said. She said she is angry at the interpretation of the company of freedom of speech.

“I am amazed that a country with such a strong Christian tradition has become a country where it is hard to speak about your faith.”

When those on the other side of the same sex marriage debate deride the idea that Christians and other people of faith are and ought to be concerned and protective of their rights, my warning flags wave.  The onslaught of anti-religious thought is not of a live and let live nature.  That sectarianism and gay activism go together as two ends of the same stick is not a new reality.

Be aware.  The will to suffocate one side of the debate is out there, and comes out in many ways.  It happens even among the “enlightened” and we’d be fools to imagine it’s not happening here.

–Beetle Blogger

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27 Comments

  1. Choice and Accountability said,

    January 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    M. J. Sobran wrote recently:

    The Framers of the Constitution . . . forbade the Congress to make any law “respecting” the establishment of religion, thus leaving the states free to do so (as several of them did); and they explicitly forbade the Congress to abridge “the free exercise” of religion, thus giving actual religious observance a rhetorical emphasis that fully accords with the special concern we know they had for religion. It takes a special ingenuity to wring out of this a governmental indifference to religion, let alone an aggressive secularism. Yet there are those who insist that the First Amendment actually proscribes governmental partiality not only to any single religion, but to religion as such; so that tax exemption for churches is now thought to be unconstitutional. It is startling [she continues] to consider that a clause clearly protecting religion can be construed as requiring that it be denied a status routinely granted to educational and charitable enterprises, which have no overt constitutional protection. Far from equalizing unbelief, secularism has succeeded in virtually establishing it.

    [She continues:] What the secularists are increasingly demanding, in their disingenuous way, is that religious people, when they act politically, act only on secularist grounds. They are trying to equate acting on religion with establishing religion. And–I repeat–the consequence of such logic is really to establish secularism. It is in fact, to force the religious to internalize the major premise of secularism: that religion has no proper bearing on public affairs. [Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 51–52, 60–61]

    The Religious are slowly being forced into the closet, and a god of mortal relativism is worshipped in place of the God of the 10 Commandments.

  2. Bruce said,

    January 14, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Freedom is a two way street. Secularists have the right to be free from the religious pronouncements and persuasions of Christians (or any other faith).

    The teacher was supposed to teach math. Not religious dogma. Not pray. Not proselytize. Teach math.

    If I were the teacher and offered to pray to Satan would that have been OK?

    It is a myth to suggest that there are forces trying to suffocate the Christian witness. Witness away. To adults. To consenting adults. Children, other than your own, are off limits.

    The new bogeyman is that Christians are losing their rights left and left. This is patently untrue. Christians are free to worship when and where they will. They are free to educate their children and teach them the things pertinent to their faith. All secularists ask is to be left alone. We are not interested in your faith, your God, your Bible, nor do we desire your prayers.

  3. Quasar said,

    January 14, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    BeetleBlogger wrote:
    Be aware. The will to suffocate one side of the debate is out there, and comes out in many ways.

    Since you clearly care deeply about telling both sides of the story, without bias, I felt it appropriate to post this.

    “speaking for the first time today Mr and Mrs Lynch said they had repeatedly asked Mrs Jones to stop discussing Christianity with their daughter – and were left with no option but to report her to the council.

    Mrs Lynch, 43, who quit her job with the Higher Education Funding Council in April to care full-time for her daughter, said: ‘Mrs Jones was employed to teach maths but used every opportunity to discuss religion, despite the fact I made it clear we were a non-religious family and didn’t want to talk about these issues in this way.

    ‘On one occasion she asked my daughter to pray with her, my daughter was distressed by this behaviour.”
    – Daily Mail article on the subject

  4. January 15, 2010 at 9:21 am

    The way you put it, it seems like she innocently offered to pray once. The girl’s parents tell a different story.

    But speaking for the first time today Mr and Mrs Lynch said they had repeatedly asked Mrs Jones to stop discussing Christianity with their daughter – and were left with no option but to report her to the council.

    But speaking for the first time today Mr and Mrs Lynch said they had repeatedly asked Mrs Jones to stop discussing Christianity with their daughter – and were left with no option but to report her to the council.

    Mrs Lynch, 43, who quit her job with the Higher Education Funding Council in April to care full-time for her daughter, said: ‘Mrs Jones was employed to teach maths but used every opportunity to discuss religion, despite the fact I made it clear we were a non-religious family and didn’t want to talk about these issues in this way.

  5. beetlebabee said,

    January 15, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Bruce, freedom is indeed a two way street, but just as you have no right to stuff cotton down the mouth of someone who says something you don’t like, you have no right to legally silence someone for expressing their religious beliefs. You may believe that there is no animosity toward people of faith….and I don’t just include Christians here, I believe it’s clear that secularism is against all people of faith, but the facts do not bear you out.

    There are many many examples. See this from the Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/6964995/Labours-secular-tyranny-torments-faith-schools.html

  6. beetlebabee said,

    January 15, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Quasar, since you are also interested in finding out the truth, I’ll give you these further links detailing the situation in more depth. It appears that the “traumatized” mother made her initial complaint to the wrong people, not the teacher, and not the employer. Rather than harass the family with repeated attempts to push her faith on someone else, the teacher was simply being herself and was not aware of the mother’s intolerance for expressions of faith.

    Since when is it against public policy to be able to speak of your faith in public? Isn’t threatening job loss just another means to silence people of faith? Here’s the money question though. If the mother was so traumatized, why did she repeatedly invite the teacher back?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/6850604/Christian-teacher-sacked-for-offering-to-pray-for-sick-pupil.html
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/6861696/Christian-teacher-left-pupil-distressed-with-preaching.html
    http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com/2009/12/christian-teacher-sacked-as-she-is-told.html

  7. Rosss said,

    January 16, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Quasar, remember this is beetle we are talking about. Since when has she ever been concerned about covering both sides of the story?

  8. beetlebabee said,

    January 16, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Ross, were you about to add something of substance to the conversation?

  9. Rosss said,

    January 16, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Beetle,

    In that case..to quote you..and to go off of what was said earlier:

    Beetle: “Since when is it against public policy to be able to speak of your faith in public? Isn’t threatening job loss just another means to silence people of faith? ”

    So, Beetle. If a woman was tutoring your child at home and repeatedly brought up their belief in Satan, asked repeatedly if they could pray to Satan for you and your child….and you repeatedly asked them to stop and they didnt (as the parents above claim to have done)..how would you react?

    What if it was Allah instead of Satan?
    What if they offered to do a Wiccan ritual? Etc.

    How would you react?

  10. Chairm said,

    January 16, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    The is a dispute about the facts in the case.

    Let’s assume that the teacher did as she said she did, rather than what the mother claims. On what principled basis must the teacher be subject to disciplinary action?

    Let’s assume that the teacher did as the mother claimed, rather than what she claims. On what principled basis must the teacher be subject to disciplinary action?

  11. beetlebabee said,

    January 16, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Rosss,

    Well I’d probably have a meltdown on national TV for starters, then I’d drag out every newspaper possible and feed them my “exclusive” and then I’d make sure the offending schlub lost their job and was permanently blacklisted!!

    Actually, I’d probably just not invite that person back. Unfortunately, as Chairm says, the sum of facts are in dispute since only the two of them know the severity or benign nature of what happened between them, however, I have to say that it was more than foolish for someone who holds such intolerance for the teacher’s personal views to continue to invite her back into her home. It looks like arrangements were made individually. She had complete control over who was in her house and who was talking to her children at all times. There were many options. By no means was she forced into persecuting this woman and getting her fired.

    Now, take it from the other perspective. Would you feel the same if you were standing in the teacher’s perspective?

    Personally, it looks like a clear case of heavy handed secularists jumping the gun since lighter options were available, and not taken, since no conversation was had with the teacher about the complaints before her termination, etc. etc. I’m glad to see that it’s going to be investigated.

  12. Rosss said,

    January 16, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Beetle: Well I’d probably have a meltdown on national TV for starters, then I’d drag out every newspaper possible and feed them my “exclusive” and then I’d make sure the offending schlub lost their job and was permanently blacklisted!!

    And yet..who is the one who gave all of the intial interviews? Who is the one who’s picture is plastered across all of the articles with her kissing her cross? Oh right…the Christian desperate for fame and intent on making a media circus…The one who is making a big hooplah cause she was stopped from tutoring at a house LESS THAN 12 HRS a week..

    Riiiiiight…No, the teacher is totally 100 percent in the right here..

  13. beetlebabee said,

    January 16, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    You know, she probably set herself up and lost her job on purpose. Please Rosss. Would you say the same if she were fired for talking about her upcoming gay wedding? Sometimes when the system breaks down, the court of last resort is the people.

  14. Chairm said,

    January 16, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Ross, assume the teacher is 100% wrong.

    On what principled basis must the teacher be subject to disciplinary action?

  15. Rosss said,

    January 17, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Chairm, on the basis that she was not doing her job (obviously). Which is teaching. Not preaching.

    And beetle, I agree that this is an entire he-said she-said argument. No one knows what really happened or how many times it happened. I merely wanted to point out your obvious bias and your unwillingness to cover both sides of the story in your initial post. For someone who tends to ALWAYS side with the parents, you didnt even provide their say in the matter. Looks like religion trumps parenting in your skewed eyes

  16. beetlebabee said,

    January 18, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Rosss,
    What is obvious about it? Based on what? Parents aren’t infallible simply because they are parents. All kinds of crazy people also happen to be parents.

    The thing that is indisputable is the fact that the mother kept inviting the teacher back and setting new appointments with her even when she says she was outrageously disturbed by her behavior. That’s contradictory. It’s also indisputable that the mother did not complain to the teacher’s employer, so the teacher would not have known of the first complaint. It’s also indisputable that when the employer heard the complaint, he gave the teacher no quarter. She was out the same day. No “he said, she said” airing or consideration of both sides of the issue. The accusation was so egregious in the eyes of the accuser and the employer that no consideration was given to fairness. That is where the bias comes in most forcefully. Even if you set aside the evidence that the mother was overstating her previous encounters with the teacher and assume the teacher was 100% at fault, it is reasonable to expect someone would talk to her about it. People have miscommunications and disagreements all the time. That isn’t necessarily grounds for firing on the spot.

    You still haven’t answered my question.

  17. Chairm said,

    January 19, 2010 at 10:58 am

    The assigned teacher did teach the assigned subject to the assigned child, Ross, and that, also, is undisputed. No complaint about her the subject lessons as taught by the teacher has been made.

    And, yes, Ross, there are questions for you still on the table.

  18. Rosss said,

    January 22, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Beetle: Would you say the same if she were fired for talking about her upcoming gay wedding?

    Beetle, if the tutor was fired for talking about her gay marriage (or even just being gay, for that matter), would you say the same thing? Would you waste a page of cyberspace on the story? Or would you stick up for the teacher? No, because you have a problem with gay people, regardless of whether it was about a gay wedding or not..

    Works both ways, kiddo.

  19. beetlebabee said,

    January 22, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Ross, you didn’t answer the question.

  20. Rosss said,

    January 22, 2010 at 10:35 am

    You didnt answer mine either. It’s the exact same question

  21. beetlebabee said,

    January 22, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I am not sure what you are asking since you answered your own question and left no room for anyone’s opinion but your own. If you’re interested in what I think rather than the stereotype you wish to portray me as, then I’d be happy to tell you, however if you’ve read these pages I doubt it would be much of a surprise.

    I don’t care a bit if people are gay or if they talk about being gay, I don’t think anyone should be fired simply because of their orientation. All that is irrelevant. People are free to do as they please. What they are not free to do is demand the gutting and exploitation of the marriage institution simply to suit their own narrow socio-political views.

    As for the teacher espousing views I didn’t like, as I’ve said multiple times in this thread, if I had a problem, any problem, with the teacher, I would talk with her about it, if that didn’t solve it I would simply request another teacher. No one should fear retribution simply because of their personal views on something. First amendment ring a bell?

    You’re mistaken if you think the credibility of my opinions hinges on spending equal time refuting all injustice. I’d like to point out that I also haven’t done any posts on the tragedy of human trafficking, the gruesome tactics of the Russian mob in Chicago or the horrific happenings in Haiti either. It’s just not my focus.

    Now for the real question. Do you believe in freedom of speech and religion for everyone? Or just for those with whom you agree? I have to admit from reading your previous posts that the dual nature of your position is already apparent, but I’d rather have you answer the question yourself.

  22. Rosss said,

    January 22, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Beetle: Do you believe in freedom of speech and religion for everyone? Or just for those with whom you agree?

    Yes, I do believe in the freedom of speech and religion for everyone. That is what the first amendment is all about. However, certain jobs have a certain ethics code. Teachers, doctors, social workers (the first ones I can think of off the top of my head) have very strict ethical guidelines that they are not permitted to cross because they are doing a JOB, and are dealing closely with people. I agree that she should have just requested the teacher no longer visit (which she did). It is up to her superiors to decide whether they would like to keep her employed under the ethics and rules they have laid out for her.

    There is nothing stopping her from going to church every Sunday, marching in parades, doing rituals in her home every evening, or even hosting a Bible study. But when she is working. When she has a job to do. She has guidelines she must follow that are set blatantly by her employers. If she wanted to preach the gospel she should have been a priest, not a teacher. She was hired to do a job and she didn’t. She knew what she was getting into when she became a teacher, knew that certain things were off limits, and obviously her superiors felt she crossed the line.

    Now. As you say, all of the other injustices are “not your focus”. So what is your focus? Is it mostly Anti-SSM?

    Question. You claim to not care one way or the other about gay people. So, do you support civil unions? You’re AWFULLY protective of the word marriage. What is your opinion, on what happened in Washington state– The “everything but marriage” law that went into effect that granted committed gay couples all of the same rights, priveledges, etc of marriage without actually calling it marriage. In favor? Against? Why or why not? Are you in favor of giving these couples who make a comittment the same benefits to make their lives and the lives of their family easier?

  23. beetlebabee said,

    January 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    “Yes, I do believe in the freedom of speech and religion for everyone. ” except teachers doctors and social workers?

    “She was hired to do a job, and she didn’t.” where is the evidence that she did not do her job?

    “she should have just requested the teacher no longer visit (which she did). ” actually she didn’t. She continued to set up appointments for the teacher to come, even after she said she was offended. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion stops at the chapel door? In the public arena religion is off limits? That is the very idea that is unacceptable. If you were to turn that around to a belief you hold, you would see the inappropriate nature of muzzling belief.

    What evidence do you have that she broke any rules set by her employers?

    My focus is to inform and promote pro-family policies, news and whatever else I find interesting.

    Do I support civil unions? No. Actually I don’t, because civil unions set up a back door for wayward judiciaries. If it were simply a matter of government goodies, I would care less. However as a threat to the institution of marriage, I care very much. This issue isn’t an us vs. them gay vs. straight issue. It’s a marriage vs. non marriage issue. As such I support the legislation called the “Salt Lake City Plan” that Colorado has recently adopted, where everyone in the non marriage relationship category who lives together, shares resources, provides nurture and care for one another receives the government goodies encouraging them to do so. That includes widowed grandmothers living with their college granddaughters, two elderly sisters, a group of roommates, doesn’t matter. If you have a commitment to helping others, it helps society and deserves recognition.

    I like that legislation because it keeps marriage and responsible procreation separate from all other beneficial relationships, as it should be.

  24. Rosss said,

    January 22, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Beetle: Freedom of speech, freedom of religion stops at the chapel door? In the public arena religion is off limits?

    Grow up, beetle. Ill give you an example. An actor gets a job promoting pepsi on the air. They sign the contract, they adhere to the rules..and the rules state that they may not promote any other soft drink for the span of 2 years. Typical entertainment contract. Guess what? If the person promotes another soft drink behind the company’s back, they get fired. They lose their job. They broke the rules

    A teacher/tutor who signs up for a position knows the rules. And the rules mean not promoting a religious agenda. She broke the rules. SHe was punished.

  25. beetlebabee said,

    January 22, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I find this comment amusing especially since you were calling names just a few posts ago. lol. You insist that she broke rules, you insist that the employer was right, that the woman was right, and yet…..you still don’t know the facts. Interpretation. The devil is in the details isn’t it? Bias Ross? It could just be what’s staring you back from the mirror.

  26. Chairm said,

    January 23, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    What ‘rule’, Ross, do you imagine the teacher broke? Be precise.

    By the way, did the mother and the teacher’s supervisory following ‘rules’? or even common sense?

  27. Lisa~ said,

    January 23, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    I just thinks it’s pretty interesting how christianity is not allowed in schools. But gays are working overtime to get thier twisted lifestyle shoved down the throats of toddlers and kids… People get fired over not supporting gays or for talking about thier religious beliefs. Let a gay person get fired and OMG its on the front page! Because it HAS to be because they were gay!

    The bible was right when it said that evil would be called good and good would be called evil. That is exactly what is going on in todays world.


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