After spending two days in the Court of Appeal, Christian Concern’s chief executive, Andrea Williams, comments on the case of Felix Ngole.
We’re awaiting the judgment in the case of Felix Ngole. I’m not holding my breath for justice. We’ve ordered a transcript of what went on 12 and 13 March 2019, in Court 69 of the Court of Appeal in front of Lord Justice Irwin, Lord Justice Haddon-Cave and Sir Jack Beatson, because the statements in court were incredibly shocking and disturbing.
It never ceases to amaze me that despite all my years in this work I am still shocked at what is going on. I am also shocked that so many don’t seem to see what I see. It was deeply depressing; somehow, I never get used to the derogatory attitude that people have towards Christians. I remember when such attitudes would have been unthinkable. Sadly, no more.
Felix’s whole livelihood ended because of a Facebook conversation in which he expressed traditional Christian belief on homosexuality; and refused to recant his faith. Any person of integrity and principle would have done the same.
Felix is a hard-working, caring and honest man. An ideal candidate to be a social worker.
But he was being watched by a fellow student who does not like Christianity. She monitored Felix’s Facebook account. When she saw Felix post something she disapproved of, she would take action.
And sure enough, during a vigorous political debate on the jailing of Kim Davis in 2015 (the Kentucky clerk who refused to be involved in the issuing of marriage certificates to same-sex couples), Felix said something by which she could end his career and livelihood. Felix quoted the Bible in response to a question asking him to do so and explained the Bible’s position on marriage and homosexuality. Some of those he was in communication with were not so polite about Christians.
Then came the anonymous complaint. This student need never be identified or required to give an account for her actions of discrimination and hatred of Christians. The student continues her life as normal; presumably now pursuing her career in social work; she eats, sleeps, continues and never has to face the consequences of her actions or be forced to go public with her accusations.
A Sheffield professor active in the LGBT movement set up a hearing immediately after the complaint on whether Felix is ‘fit to practise’. The hearing examined the Christian beliefs of Felix and she held him unfit to be a social worker, unless he renounced his beliefs. Game over.
Freedom of speech is hanging by a thread
Freedom of speech and, in particular, freedom to speak for Christ is rapidly ending. Can we not see this? Freedom of speech is hanging by a thread; and this is by a combination of governmental policy and because of our vacillating and weak courts. Better not say what you think at school, university, or work. Someone will not like it. Christian – you know what will happen – anonymous complaint; internal ‘investigation’; Christian out.
Felix’s case is important because it illuminates the open hostility to the teaching of Christ by our elites and whether we truly live in a ‘free’ society where people can have different views on social issues.
Better to eradicate Felix from the system; better to eradicate Christian beliefs from our society than live in the knowledge that someone has different values from you.
The threat to our free speech is all the more sinister because, in Britain, we are used to trusting the system. The arguments made all sound so reasonable: why should people’s behaviour be disapproved of? Why can’t everyone just be kind to everyone?
Of course, Felix believes in love, but it is precisely because he believes in the love of the Gospel that he wants to inform people of God’s wonderful way of living.
The true meaning of the hostile acts against him, at every stage, is simple: the elites don’t like the Christian message. Other faiths, it would seem, are treated differently; often deferentially, no matter how violent or threatening they are – even to homosexuals.
Mother Teresa unfit to be a social worker
In essence, it was the position of the University of Sheffield, put forward by Sarah Hannett, Counsel for Sheffield University of Matrix Chambers, said that Mother Teresa (and, by implication the Lord Jesus) would have been unfit to be a social worker in modern Britain. This was because of Mother Teresa’s views on sexual ethics and homosexuality. All her good work among the poor came to naught according to the values of a British University. You must be ideologically committed to the new ‘values’ of the LGBT movement.
Sarah Hannett could not see what she was saying. The incredible position that we have reached in the United Kingdom is that holiness is now seen as wicked. The teaching of the gospel is now openly derided and opposed.
Christian views ‘should not be expressed’
Counsel for the University of Sheffield said that Christian views on sexual morality could never be expressed in a public forum, at a meeting, in a newspaper article or on any social media. She said that the social work profession would need to consider whether such speech may be permissible in a church or Bible study group, but that was a decision for a later date – the implication being that such views will not be permissible even within the walls of a church.
Felix’s case was also about whether we live in a free society. It shows us to be a society where you are watched; one wrong word on homosexuality or failing to express sufficient zeal for the political ideology of the LGBTQI… movement can end your career. This means we are not free.
Christians are monitored
This is reminiscent of Nazi Germany (as Lord Templeman said). I doubt a British judge would have the courage to say such a thing today. Christians are monitored, reported, and their livelihoods destroyed in a kangaroo court of academics. We can see the direction that our society is heading in; and Christians and individuals who believe in freedom are clearly facing a new Dark Age.
Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre were founded to preserve and fight for our Christian freedoms; there is still a small window by which we can resist these trends, but we need to remain strong, focused, fearless, and ready and prepared to fight. Thank you for your support.
Photo by Ruth Towell
Find out more about Felix Ngole