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Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Latest case of absurd secular intolerance

Duke Amachree, a homelessness worker for Wandsworth Council, was suspended from his job in January because he had suggested to a woman with an incurable illness who was being evicted from her home that she might try putting her faith in God. He was told in an investigatory interview in March that "God had to be kept out of the workplace". He asked whether it would be appropriate to say "God bless" and was told that it would not. On Monday he was sacked.

See the full story at the Christian Legal Centre: Wandsworth Council have today sacked London Homelessness Prevention Officer after previously threatening "say 'God Bless' and we'll sack you".

The Christian Legal Centre is representing Mr Amchree who is taking Wandsworth Council to an employment tribunal. This is the latest in a series of recent cases. Some may be won, some lost, who knows? The effect of them on ordinary employers and employees will be one of intimidation. Whatever the legal outcome of the various appeals, the message is getting across that you dare not express your Christian faith at work, or allow your employees to do so. If there were a massive damages award against an employer for this sort of thing, it would help, but in the present climate of opinion in secular Britain, I don't hold out too much hope for that. The Dictatorship of Relativism is gathering pace in Britain.

In fact, Pope Benedict addresses precisely this problem in his new encyclical Caritas in Veritate:
The Christian religion and other religions can offer their contribution to development only if God has a place in the public realm, specifically in regard to its cultural, social, economic, and particularly its political dimensions. The Church's social doctrine came into being in order to claim “citizenship status” for the Christian religion. Denying the right to profess one's religion in public and the right to bring the truths of faith to bear upon public life has negative consequences for true development. The exclusion of religion from the public square — and, at the other extreme, religious fundamentalism — hinders an encounter between persons and their collaboration for the progress of humanity. Public life is sapped of its motivation and politics takes on a domineering and aggressive character. Human rights risk being ignored either because they are robbed of their transcendent foundation or because personal freedom is not acknowledged. (n.56)
UPDATE: Oliver has forwarded a link to the Wandsworth Guardian which gives an alternative account of the case, strongly denying Duke Amachree's story and making serious counter-claims. Here, I think, we have to await the outcome of the tribunal.
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