By Chris Briscoe, Apologist of Truth, without apologies for speaking the truth.
I am sure you have heard about the Christian bakers, florists and photographers who were fined large amounts of money under sexual-orientation discrimination laws, but a recent case involves just a student who was posting comments on his private account.
The case is about Felix Ngole, aged 38, a married student with four children and a Christian, who was expelled from his university because he wrote a post on Facebook, supporting the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexual ethics, which outlaws homosexual relations. He was studying a Masters in Sheffield University in England.
Please read this case. What do you think. Let me tell you my thoughts: when I read about this case I was shocked and I grieved for this man whose only offence was expressing his religious-orientated conscience!
This is what happened:
Felix was in his second year, when he logged onto his Facebook account which he had set to be read by his own circle of friends; in response to the news from the U.S.A, he gave his reaction to a U.S. Kentucky clerk being locked up in prison because she was a conscientious objector to gay marriage.
Felix wrote that in the Bible there is teaching which states, in Leviticus, Chapter 20, verse 13, “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.”
The Kentucky county Clerk, Mrs. Kim Davies, Felix was commenting on was sent to jail for six days because she refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses. And then two months later Felix received a notice from the University that he was under investigation. Somehow his words came to the attention of his teachers and faculty members,who, following a meeting of a subset of the Faculty of Social Sciences regarding public conduct in the profession, he was sent a further e-mail which informed him that he had been “excluded from further study on a program leading to a professional qualification and is no longer recognized as a University student.”
The committee wrote that the grounds for this expulsion was he, “may have caused offence to some individuals” and had “transgressed boundaries which are not deemed appropriate for someone entering the social work profession,” and that, “his action would have an effect on his ability to carry out a role as a social worker.”
The committee further wrote, “Your student record will be terminated shortly and your library membership and University computer account withdrawn. You may wish to contact your funding body for advice on your financial position.”
Mr. Ngole is appealing the University’s decision through its appeal system but is being defended by Andrea Williams from the Christian Legal Center, who said that the universitie’s conduct violates Mr. Ngoles fundemental rights.
“The university has failed to protect his freedom of speech under Article 10 and his freedom of religion under Article 9,” she said, referring to the Human Rights Act.“
Mr. Ngole warned against universities judging on their own whether to ban a student on the basis of a personal statement saying, “If each university is making its own, arbitrary decisions, who is monitoring these decisions and how can students ensure that, across all universities, there is good, fair and equal assessment of such issues?”
Universities, in his opinion, should follow a completely different path and, instead of censoring peoples’ beliefs, encourage an exchange of opinion.
“If they are ‘censored’ from even sharing their ideas or beliefs as part of a discussion on Facebook then how can that happen?” says Ngole, who plans to file a legal motion referring to the breach of his right of expression if his appeal to the university panel fails. He intends to appeal the decision on the basis of discrimination.
“I wonder whether the university would have taken any action if a Muslim student who believes in Sharia law, with its teaching about women and homosexuality, had made moderate comments on his Facebook page. I don’t think so,” said Ngole, stressing that he was being discriminated against for expressing Christian beliefs, as cited by Premier Christian Radio.
This is not another one of those dreadful cases, like the case where a Christian Baker couple who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple were fined $135,000 and were subsequently issued with a gagging order to be constrained under law from making any more public comments about their opinion on same-sex marriage. That case was shocking in its implications for religious and freedom of speech rights, for it was later found that the judge in this case representing the Labour and Industries Commision was in collusion with the local LGBT representative; but this case here has much far reaching, wider implications concerning your rights to express your opinion, whatever that opinion may be, because it does not involve any public official, neither a Baker, a Florist, nor a county clerk or anyone serving in a public capacity, but this case involves a lone student, a person who was expelled from an English University because of expressing a private opinion to friends.
Regarding Christian people serving the public as Bakers or Florists or county clerks; Of course, some make the argument that these people are in the public domain and should therefore, leave their religion at home. However, whatever your view on same-sex marriage is, the case of Felix does not involve any person working in the public domain and, therefore, it is genuinely an affront to Western values, of which our Grandfathers spent over thirty years defending in two world wars.
If this University’s expulsion is supported in the courts of the U.K. or by the U.K. Government, then it will mean the nation will be rolling back century’s old freedom of speech rights, as well as religious rights, since the Magna Carta, and instead will be heading towards a society on the lines of North Korea or China!
Let’s think about this case:
A university in a so called free country, arbitrarily expelling a man because they thought his comments caused offence to some individuals, and which they deemed, in their opinion, as inappropriate for someone entering the social work profession. They wrote to him an e-mail, he “may have caused offence to some people.” Remember, they had no evidence that this man would discriminate; and furthermore, there are thousands of Christians serving as social workers whose religion makes them gentler and more compassionate individuals.What about all those millions of social workers who are already working in the profession and who would also hold to being Christian?
Does this case not beg some very important questions?
What happend to the judicial protection of “innocent until proven guilty?” In this case, those who expelled him were not acting on any real evidence of discrimination but just according to their own presumptions and personal predujices.
Would you want your son or daughter to attend such a school where open debate and healthy discussion were stifled? Isn’t the very requirements of education to be in an atmosphere where there is room for different opinions and creative discussion? Would you study in a University which expels any student who is not in line with the current university’s orthodoxy?
As a society we have to ask ourselves, is this the kind of society we want to live in, where our freedom of speech, as well as freedom of religion are not protected, as every citizen rights have been protected since the era of the Magna Carta? Or to put it another way, has our society now been reduced to accommodating only one opinion, and where all freedom of debate or differing opinion are stifled? Has our society really become as narrow-minded as that – a nation where its normal citizens are snooped on, and sanctioned, as foretold by George Orwell’s writings in his novel, “1984,” where “Big Brother” is watching us, reading our mail, ready to pounce?
What happened to people’s religious rights? What happened to people’s freedom of speech.This was not a public official like Kim Davies but just a student in an institution of learning, who is a paying student, who was just talking with his friends. If this was an official like Kim Davies speaking, it would be a different matter, but this was an MA student who was told by the faculty that his opinion was, in their view, not conducive to the chosen area of study he is studying.
What kind of world is this becoming, when students of an institution of learning are no longer allowed to question an issue or to debate among their friends, or express their personal opinion, on a private social media account without the fear of being sanctioned or expelled from their school? And this is not a case where a student was inciting violence or hatred.
This is clearly a case where the government or the University are trying to impose their opinion, which they view as politically correct, onto the views of a student, and it is an affront to this nation’s laws or right of freedom of speech.
It is just another case in a long line of cases where people who express their view which is distinct from the current politically-correct thinking on a matter, or the current government’s view, are penalized. We used to live in a free country where our freedom of speech and freedom to express our conscience were guaranteed, as long as that didn’t lead to illegal activities, of which men like Thomas Jefferson, wrote abridgments to the United States Constitution called, “The Ten Bill of Rights.” These 10 Amendments had their roots in Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia religious statues of which he first drafted in 1774 when because of illness he was prevented from attending the Virginia Convention of 1774, whem the deligates met in response to the British cl8sing down Boston harbour, calling his draft, “A Summary View of the rights of British America” in rensponse to the Boston tea party when harbour-side tea-workers were fed up with the tax which King James was demanding on tea, they began dumping British tea companies tea in the harbour, coined,”The Boston Tea party.”
He wrote: Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishment or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was his Almighty power to do.”
Sheffield Faculty members would do well to read Jefferson’s wisdom.
Mr. Jefferson, who later rose in political office, to be the third U.S. President who also was the first Vice President of the U.S. of which his Virgins Delcaration of religious rights was the inspiration behind the First Amendment, which is enshrined in the U.S. Consitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
— The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
What are your thoughts on this? Is this really the direction political- correctness is taking us?
– Where our every comment results in us being scrutinized, and where our right to freely speak our mind, as long as we are not inciting hatred and violence, is unprotected.
– Where student’s right to discuss freely and openly criticize within the confines of their classroom walls or private account is no longer protected, as it has been protected under our Constitution, both in the U.S. and the U.K.
If it is, then political-correctness can go to hell!
What’s on earth is happening? Today what is happening in this world? What do you think about this case? This is England, a country where our Grandfather’s fought for our freedom to be free to speak without Fascist or Communist Government’s telling us what is right and wrong to think – reading our mail! Where grandparenrs fought two bloody wars so that we can keep our rights, freedom of speech rights, religious rights, a country where we have enjoyed since Mary Queen of Scots was deposed, the right to worship or express our religion! This is not Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union!
By Chris Briscoe