Pastor who received death threat sues school after being hounded out of job by LGBT mob rule1 December 2019 Issued by: Christian Concern
A Christian pastor and school caretaker, who received a death threat for a tweet that said gay Pride events are harmful to children and shouldn’t be attended by Christians, is taking legal action against the school who hounded him out of his job and capitulated to local LGBT activists’ mob rule.
As a result of sending the tweet, Pastor Keith Waters, 53, from Ely in Cambridgeshire, experienced a string of threats including his wife having to answer the door to funeral directors who had been sent to arrange his ‘funeral’. Estate agents contacted him, having been told he was moving from the area ‘in a hurry’, and he was nearly knocked off his bike by an angry local resident in a car who wanted to remonstrate with him. False rumours were spread that Pastor Waters was a child molester and there were calls from local councillors for Mr Waters to be investigated by police for a ‘hate incident.’
‘Pride events harmful to children’
On Saturday 1 June 2019 he had sent out the following post on his Twitter account:
“A reminder that Christians should not support or attend LGBTQ “Pride month” events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Christian faith and morals. They are especially harmful to children.”
Pastor Waters had copied the tweet from a US Catholic Bishop, and his intention was to address and warn Christians about gay pride events across the UK as they often involve nudity, people in sadomasochistic outfits and displays of an overtly sexual nature.
Within minutes of sending the post, Pastor Waters received a tweet from a local journalist and ‘LGBT advocate’ accusing him of attacking the local LGBT community in Ely ahead of Pride events that month.
The following morning, as Pastor Waters was preparing for a Sunday service at his church, a Cambridge-based journalist tried to harass him into apologising for the tweet, which he refused to do. By Monday, he was on the front page of the Cambridge Evening News and online abuse continued to grow with local councillors and pressure groups creating a toxic atmosphere.
Feared for his safety
Harassment followed at his home and on the streets of Ely, and, fearing for his, his family’s, and his church members safety, Pastor Waters decided to delete the tweet.
However, his caretaker role at the local primary school now came under threat as the headteacher informed him that he was being investigated for bringing the school ‘into disrepute’ after receiving a handful of complaints.
One letter to the school ludicrously claimed that Pastor Waters’ tweet called for ‘violence against people who support the Ely Pride Festival’. An anonymous teacher bizarrely claimed that his tweet fell ‘within the British government’s definition of extremism’ and that action must be taken against him.
‘An asset to the school’
In 2017, Pastor Waters had taken a 60% pay cut from his role as an Estates Manager at one of Cambridge University’s largest colleges to work as a caretaker at the Isle of Ely Primary School. He took the job with the agreement that he would combine the role with his duties as Pastor of Ely’s New Connexions church.
Pastor Waters was a liked and respected member of staff, and at his final appraisal was described as ‘an asset to the school’. Going above and beyond duty in a number of ways in his role as caretaker at the school, he used his expertise to put in place fire safety policies, and organised gardening lessons for troubled pupils who were physically threatening teachers.
Headteacher capitulated to LGBT pressure
During the investigation, however, the school’s head teacher capitulated to the demands of a handful of LGBT activists including some parents, and Pastor Waters was issued with a final warning for allegedly bringing the school into disrepute and breaking the code of conduct.
As a result, Pastor Waters believed he could no longer combine his roles as a Christian pastor and caretaker at the school, and decided that he had no alternative but to resign.
Now, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Pastor Waters is suing for constructive dismissal, indirect discrimination, and breach of public sector equality duty. He also believes that the school has interfered with his rights to freedom of religion, expression and thought.
‘An attack on anyone who dares question Pride’
Pastor Waters said: “Anyone who believes in freedom of religion and expression should be very concerned about my story. This was an attack, not just against my Christian beliefs, but against anyone who dares to question these matters in public. The biggest concern should be that a story like mine is becoming normal.
“I maintain that my tweet did not discriminate against anyone. It was directed to Christians and it did not criticise individuals or the LGBT community, only Pride events. Other people have been mortified at how I have been treated but are too fearful to speak out.
“Children should never be exposed to nudity or overt sexuality, whether that’s at Gay Pride or anywhere else. I am determined to fight for the freedom to say that, and believe that no one should lose or be forced out of their job for holding and expressing legitimate views.”
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre commented:
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “Our schools and churches need more community-minded people like Pastor Keith Waters, not less. For sending one tweet, that raised genuine concern for children, Keith has been threatened, harassed and hounded out of his employment.
“This is not a local issue distinct to Ely, but a growing intolerant and threatening trend towards, not just Christians, but anyone across the country who dares to oppose Pride.
“Pastor Keith Waters is right to say that Christians should not attend gay Pride events as they are harmful to children. They often exhibit nudity and displays of an overtly sexual nature that no child should have to see. If a Christian pastor can no longer say this publicly without receiving death threats, then we are living in very dangerous times.
“As we launch this case, we call on the Church to do more to protect courageous Christians like Keith Waters, and to speak publicly on how God’s good pattern of marriage between one man and one woman is a foundation for a healthy society.
“Celebrating sexual chaos and public immorality at gay Pride events is not good for anyone; it is not good for families or impressionable young children.”
Notes for editors
In July 2019, the Court of Appeal ruled in the landmark Christian freedom case of Felix Ngole that Christians now have the legal right to express Biblical views on social media or elsewhere without fear of losing their professional careers.
For further information:
Pastor Keith Waters
Tom Allen 07974 304 620
Andrea Williams 07712 591 164
Pastor Keith Waters – https://gallery.mailchimp.com/bed173cc9adfcad1e0e442a35/images/f8e8fa2d-b801-4c6d-ba30-d3862c7e2f9f.jpg
The tweet Pastor Keith Waters sent https://gallery.mailchimp.com/bed173cc9adfcad1e0e442a35/images/c277709d-7862-48e6-81ac-302eb7dbe5a0.jpg
Images from London Gay Pride which Pastor Waters presented to the school to demonstrate why he believes these events are harmful to children.