Wednesday 15 April 2015

Christians in this country are coming under ever more increasing pressures and harassment. There are constant cases arising where they are suspended for issues which would not be applied to other faiths.

Preachers voicing their faith in public places have been arrested, and in one case in Perth a Minister was arrested on the grounds that he was disturbing the peace with his shouting, whilst at the same time a street busker was playing amplified music without any action being taken against him.

In another case a Police Sergeant sought public assistance in obtaining evidence against a street preacher in Taunton to support a prosecution, yet a Muslim preacher had Police protection when preaching in a London street.

Fortunately, we have a legal body willing and able to represent Christians when and where action is wrongly taken against them.

Christian Concern is a legal body founded by Andrea Williams, a barrister, committed evangelical Christian, and member of the Church of England General Synod.

The Centre represent and defend individuals and churches that suffer discrimination and challenges because of their desire to live and work according to their religious beliefs. They have figured prominently in cases which have attracted widespread publicity where Christians have been denied (their) human rights.

The work carried out by the legal team is to be strongly commended for we face in this country a judiciary which has shown not only little sympathy for the Christian cause, but at times open hostility. I fear without such devotion by their lawyers to our faith, the people represented would have suffered at the hands of Tribunals and Courts.

The Centre seeks to infuse a biblical worldview into society and be a strong Christian voice in the public sphere, speaking passionately for the truth of the gospel, and defending historic freedoms that this nation has enjoyed for so many years. In so doing, society in general can benefit. By seeking to highlight injustice it may be possible to influence public opinion on matters of key importance and establish true freedom to all.

A typical example of their representation occurred this week

An Employment Tribunal in London has ruled that a Christian occupational therapist was wrong to talk to her Muslim colleague about Christianity.

Victoria’s colleague had encouraged Victoria to talk about her faith, willingly agreed that she could pray for her and even accepted an invitation to a church charity event.

Despite the fact that Victoria didn't force her views on her colleague at any point, in June 2013 her colleague made a formal complaint. Victoria was then suspended for 9 months pending an investigation.

This happened even though her colleague had never complained to Victoria personally and had often initiated discussions about Victoria’s faith.

In February 2014 an internal disciplinary panel found her guilty of three charges of misconduct related to the accusations of “bullying and harassment”. Now the Employment Tribunal has backed up the decision of Victoria’s employer.

Victoria Wasteney has worked as a senior occupational therapist in east London for eight years and has an exemplary record.

But an Employment Tribunal has now backed Victoria’s employer, the East London NHS Foundation Trust, claiming that it was inappropriate for her to pray for her colleague, give her a Christian book and invite her to church events.

The decision leaves Victoria out in the cold for being open and honest about her Christian faith. It also leaves unchallenged workplace environments that are increasingly restrictive when it comes to discussing faith at work.

Commenting after, Victoria stated,: “I conducted all my conversations with my colleague in a sensitive and appropriate way. I knew she was from a different faith background and I was respectful of that. Surely there should be room for mutual conversations about faith, where appropriate, in the workplace?

“I am extremely disappointed with the Tribunal’s decision to side with my employer. There is already an unnatural caginess around faith and belief which is an obstruction to building meaningful relationships in the workplace.

“This decision will only perpetuate that, to the detriment of working relationships in the NHS.”

Andrea Williams, commenting on the case said, “Are these the kind of workplaces we want, where people are forced to hide their identity and the things that matter most to them? Such an environment is detrimental to meaningful working relationships and ultimately to productivity.

“With the general election fast approaching, what will political parties do about the place of Christianity in the workplace, particularly in the NHS?

“The current ‘equality and diversity’ framework is having the opposite effect to what was intended. It is driving different people apart, not bringing them together, by breeding an atmosphere of mistrust in which people constantly feel as if they are walking on eggshells.

“Victoria’s case clearly demonstrates this. What will our politicians do to restore trust in the workplace?”

I will answer that, absolutely nothing. We have largely a bunch of atheists amongst our politicians, although some posture as Christians when they think a few votes may be obtained.

I would encourage Christians, and others with Christian sympathy, to support the work of the Centre. This you can do practically by donating to their work at

Christian Concern
Christian Legal Centre
70 Wimpole Street

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