Monday January 4, 2010
British Christian Teacher Sacked after Offering to Pray for Ill Student
By Hilary White
LONDON, January 4, 2010, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Christian teacher in the UK has been added to the long and growing list of British Christians who have faced disciplinary or legal action for expressing their beliefs. Olive Jones, 54, is being defended by the Christian Legal Centre after she was sacked for offering to pray for a student suffering from leukaemia.
Jones, a home-visit teacher, gave lessons in mathematics to children who are too ill to attend school. When on a visit with a sick student, she spoke to the child’s mother and offered to pray for the daughter. When she was told that the family were not believers, she dropped the subject, but the mother complained and Jones lost her job with Oak Hill Short Stay School and Tuition Service in Nailsea, North Somerset.
Her employers said that the offer of prayer could have been regarded as “bullying.” Jones now fears that the incident has marked her and will damage her future employment prospects.
Jones said that her offer of prayer is being treated like “a criminal act”: “It is like a black mark against my name and character when it comes to getting a reference for another job, just because I shared my testimony.”
“If I had done something criminal, I believe the reaction would have been the same,” she said. She said she is angry at the interpretation of the company of freedom of speech.
“I am amazed that a country with such a strong Christian tradition has become a country where it is hard to speak about your faith.”
Paddy and Stephanie Lynch, the parents of the 14 year-old student said that Jones had left their child “traumatised.” They told the Daily Mail that the visits by Jones had “deeply upset” their daughter after she told the latter, after the death of her close friend, that when young people die they go to heaven.
“The sessions with Mrs Jones became increasingly traumatic and we decided it was not appropriate for this woman to come to my home.” The family claims that Mrs. Jones had ignored repeated requests to stop “preaching.”
The Daily Mail commented in an editorial that the experience of Jones and the dozens of others like her in increasingly anti-Christian Britain, is a result of the official adoption of a “compulsory” new state religion of “equality and diversity.”
“Official codes of conduct, which can be the basis of disciplinary action and are effectively part of contracts of employment, oblige millions of public servants to ‘promote’ equality and ‘respect’ diversity.”
“It may well be that publicity and the support of pressure groups may rescue Mrs. Jones, as it rescued Caroline Petrie, a nurse subjected to similar treatment. But the fundamental problem, the slow takeover of this country by politically correct zealots, continues to grow.”
Mrs. Jones said, “I am not angry with my bosses, as they are trying to interpret new equality and diversity policies. But I am angry with the politically-correct system and about the fact that you can’t mention anything to do with faith to people who might find it of use.”
Nick Yates, a spokesman for North Somerset Council, said, “Olive Jones has worked as a supply teacher, working with the North Somerset Tuition service. A complaint has been made by a parent regarding Olive. This complaint is being investigated.”
Read related LSN coverage:
UK Christian Relationship Counsellor Sacked for Opposing Same-sex Partnerings
Labour MP Attempts to Remove Religious Freedom of Conscience after Christian Marriage Registrar Victory