Minority stress theory – why Felix’s case is crucial for Christians

5 April 2024

Chief Executive Andrea Williams writes an update on the ongoing case of Felix Ngole, explaining how the legal arguments being used against him could be very dangerous for Christian freedoms

Over the last week, the Christian Concern community has thrown its weight behind Christian social worker Felix Ngole. I know that he and the whole team are hugely grateful for all the prayer support received.

Felix’s hearing at an employment tribunal in Leeds started this week. On Wednesday, we again witnessed a panel member having to step down for possible bias.

But it’s easy to miss amidst the drama just how important Felix’s case is.

Felix is a kind, Christian man; exactly the sort of person you would want as a Mental Health Support Worker. Touchstone Support Leeds initially recognised this, offering Felix the role.

But the charity withdrew the offer after discovering his Christian beliefs about marriage and saying Felix must promise to embrace and promote ‘homosexual rights’.

Most people would immediately see that this is barefaced discrimination.

However, the charity’s lawyers are relying on a dangerous argument that, if accepted, might not just keep Felix out of a job. It could spell disaster for the freedoms of Biblical Christians to hold jobs.

Minority Stress Theory

The organisation’s lawyers argue that they can’t employ someone like Felix because his views on sex and gender might ‘damage’ the mental health of people identifying as LGBTQ+. They take their argument to the extreme when they assert that those identifying as LGBTQ+ might kill themselves if they discover Felix is a Christian.

According to the argument, called Minority Stress Theory, people who define themselves as LGBTQ+ suffer more stress, anxiety and depression than others because they are a minority. Anyone who holds views that disagree with their identity, like the Christian view on sex and gender, is considered a ‘risk’ to their mental health and worse, may lead to their suicide.

Because of this, the organisation claims that it was right to discriminate against Felix. It claims that if a service user discovered Felix’s views – perhaps from searching the internet – it would cause them distress and possible death.

You can see how, if the claims of Minority Stress Theory are accepted, it would be a green light for all kinds of employers to discriminate against Christians because of their beliefs.

Manipulative and dangerous tactic

Giving evidence this week, Felix reminded the panel of the story of the Good Samaritan and that Christians are to go out of their way to care for people who may not be exactly like them.

On the other side, one of the charity’s staff members claimed that John 3:16 or expressing the belief that there are only two genders could be triggering and potentially lead to death.

This is deeply manipulative. It’s akin to the tactic used by trans campaign groups of asking parents of a young boy “would you prefer a dead son or a living daughter?”

It’s easy to see how this logic could be used against any Christian, with perfectly ordinary (true) beliefs, who encounters vulnerable members of the public. If this argument can be used to deny Felix a job, it will likely be wielded against all sorts of other Christians, including NHS workers and teachers.

Love the sinner, hate the sin?

In truth, one of the best things that someone identifying as LGBTQ+ could receive is a Christian – whom they know doesn’t agree with their actions – showing them love and compassion.

For so long, people have been brainwashed into thinking that the only reason people oppose LGBTQ+ ideology is because they are nasty, hateful bigots. This is a slur used against Christians and others with conservative views to force ordinary people into supporting same-sex ‘marriage’, gay pride and transgender ideology. If you oppose these things, you are by definition a hateful person.

But Christians often say “love the sinner, hate the sin”. The phrase may be overused but it captures the reality succinctly: Christians act out of love when they refuse to compromise on sexuality and gender. They hate the sin because they love the sinner.

The world increasingly has no concept of this. Despite Christians making this clear for decades, there is little to no understanding in the public imagination. It is only when people see the uncompromising but compassionate witness of Christians with their neighbours, family and friends that this barrier can be overcome.

That’s why it’s so essential for Christians like Felix to be able to take roles like the one he applied for. Felix could have led by example, demonstrating deep compassion for everyone he came across. And if they found out his beliefs, they might just have come to realise that they are not hated by Bible-believing Christians.

Please continue praying for Felix and our legal team as the expert opinions are tested and the legal arguments made. Pray that the claims about Minority Stress Theory would not be used to justify discrimination and for the many Christians serving around the world in similar roles to continue showing the love of Christ to all sorts of people.

Find out more about Felix Ngole
  • Share

Related articles

All content has been loaded.

Take action

Join our email list to receive the latest updates for prayer and action.

Find out more about the legal support we're giving Christians.

Help us put the hope of Jesus at the heart of society.