High Court to rule on Christian student declared unfit to practice as a social worker because of ‘traditional’ views on homosexuality

April 26, 2017 by  
Filed under newsletter-world, World

U.S., April 25, 2017: The High Court will rule on whether Christians who express “traditional” views on homosexuality can be barred from gaining professional qualifications after a social work student won the right to challenge his expulsion.

Felix Ngole, 39, was removed from a two-year MA course at Sheffield University in February last year after saying during a Facebook debate that “the Bible and God identify homosexuality as a sin”.

He received permission to mount a judicial review in a preliminary hearing at the High Court. The full case will be heard later this year.

He is thought to be the first claimant to challenge a decision which barred him from a profession because his religious beliefs made him “unfit to practice”.

Mr Ngole, who also worked as a religious education teacher, argued that he had been unfairly stopped from completing his degree.

His case is backed by the Christian Legal Centre, part of campaign group Christian Concern.

Chief executive Andrea Minichiello Williams said the result was a victory for free speech.

She said: “The idea that someone could be expelled from a social work course for expressing a view in a Facebook post and then declared not fit to practice is very detrimental to free speech.

“Students with orthodox Christian views are being told that they aren’t fit to practice.

“For religious people who believe now what most people used to believe, it can be a bar to office.”

Lawyers said the case could affect other professionals barred from gaining work or qualifications because of their religious views.

Barrister Sarah Hannett, representing the university, said that Mr Ngole “posted comments on a publicly accessible Facebook page that were derogatory of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals.

“The views expressed are likely to undermine the trust and confidence that lesbian, gay and bisexual clients are entitled to have in his professional role as a social worker (and in the social work profession more widely).”

She added that the problem was not that Mr Ngole held such views, but the manner in which he had expressed them.

Ms Hannett said a university “fitness to practise” committee had decided to exclude Mr Ngole in early 2016 and that decision had been upheld by an appeals committee.

– telegraph

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