The unknown client: education edition

25 February 2019

A vast amount of the work that the Christian Legal Centre does never makes it into the press. But here, Roger Kiska highlights one of the cases that go under the radar that, thanks to your generosity, Christian Concern is able to take on and support.

Periodically, Christian Concern highlights some of its behind-the-scenes work to which the general public is otherwise not privy. This work is typically not publicised for several reasons, including wanting to keep the name of the client anonymous to protect them from retaliation or victimisation. Another reason includes not wishing to bring attention to the institution which brought the disciplinary complaint but then acted well in dismissing the matter.

As a direct result of your sacrificial giving, Christian Concern has been able to help countless people you will never hear about but whose lives were made better because of you. These people include an education union executive who was defended by Christian Legal Centre for opposing gender ideology in schools and was fully exonerated by the union’s disciplinary panel, a nurse whose job was saved as a result of our intervention, a major ministry being able to once again bring in foreign missionaries for training and ministry work, parents who have challenged the ideological agendas of their children’s schools, and ministries which have had their policy statements strengthened. This edition of The Unknown Client brings you yet another such success story. Some of the details have been slightly altered to protect the identity of the client and of the university which eventually closed the case against her.

Natasha is months away from being awarded a professional degree at a prestigious UK university. As part of group work, she met with fellow classmates at a coffee shop to discuss an upcoming class project. During their conversation, one of the participants self-identified as being gay. Being aware that Natasha was a Christian, her classmate asked her what her church teaches on the subject. Natasha replied by sharing that while Scripture holds that homosexual behaviour is a sin, that as Christians we are nonetheless called to love everyone and that we all fall short of God’s grace.

Unbeknownst to Natasha, the classmate was offended by the comment and filed a formal complaint with their university. The result was that Natasha was called in for a disciplinary meeting to discuss the allegations that she may have acted homophobically. The accusation was shocking to Natasha and to her parents, who naturally became incredibly concerned that not only might she not now graduate, but that she could possibly have her reputation and future ruined by being labelled as homophobic. Word of the incident also spread around her university department and other students expressed their concerns about doing group work with her.

Christian Legal Centre assisted Natasha by informing her about what the law says about holding and sharing Christian beliefs. She was also assisted in preparing for the meeting, including supporting her in her written and oral testimony on such matters as the Equality Act, the Human Rights Act and the University’s Public Sector Equality Duty.

Natasha, accompanied by a representative of the Christian Legal Centre, handled herself impressively and honourably throughout the ordeal. The result of the disciplinary meeting was full exoneration and a closing of the complaint made against her. Natasha now very much looks forward to graduating in the coming weeks and beginning her professional life.

We are grateful for Christians like Natasha who are willing to stand up for their beliefs and who are not ashamed of the Gospel. We are grateful also to our faithful and generous supporters who make helping clients like Natasha possible. We are truly blessed by your support and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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