Christian nursery nurse loses job over comments on homosexuality
A Christian nursery nurse is challenging her dismissal over comments she made to a lesbian colleague about the Bible and homosexuality.
Sarah Mbuyi lost her job at Newpark Childcare in Highbury, London, after she was asked in January what the Bible says about homosexuality.
According to the Christian Legal Centre, which is representing her, the colleague took offence when Miss Mbuyi said the Bible regards the practice of homosexuality as a sin.
She then lodged a complaint against Miss Mbuyi with the manager.
"When I said no God does not condone the practice of homosexuality, but does love you and says you should come to Him as you are, she became emotional and went off to report me to my manager," Miss Mbuyi said.
She was made to explain her comments before an internal disciplinary hearing, during which it was also claimed that she raised the issue of homosexuality on a number of occasions.
Miss Mbuyi denies this, saying her colleague probed her about her faith and especially homosexuality "time and again".
"There is no doubt that a woman I regarded as a true friend as well as a colleague targeted me as a Christian because I believe and live by what the Bible says," said Miss Mbuyi.
"Time and again my colleague initiated conversations to probe me about my faith, especially about homosexuality.
"I never ever condemned her, or accused her, but when she asked me directly what I believed, I was open about sharing the Bible's teaching that homosexual sex - not the people - is wrong.
"It's clear that this offended her and she was determined to get me sacked, simply because I expressed traditional Christian beliefs."
Miss Mbuyi said her disciplinary hearing was "hopelessly one-sided" and that the claims of the colleague were treated "as fact".
She was dismissed for gross misconduct following the hearing but is challenging the decision on grounds of religious discrimination.
"It seemed to me they had already made up their minds to justify sacking me, before hearing my side of the story," she said.
Andrea Williams, barrister and chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre said a "culture of fear" was closing down freedom of speech and the manifestation of faith, and that Christianity was being branded as "oppressive and regressive".
"Sharing Biblical truths out of genuine love and concern for colleagues is being outlawed in the workplace by a dominating cultural correctness," she said.
Ms Williams believes the legalisation of gay marriage has left Christians at greater risk of punitive action if they speak about their views in the public square.
While David Cameron has been in the headlines in recent weeks over his praise for Christianity, Ms Williams accused him of wanting to "mould Christianity to his political agenda" and said the Government needed to be more "consistent" in its rhetoric.
"Sarah's case demonstrates the confusion we're experiencing in current times," she said.
"This is not a Government with a track record of recognising and respecting Christian faith. It has deliberately and consistently undermined Christians and their freedom to live out their faith in the public square.
"The Prime Minister has huge influence. If he is serious in his support for Christianity, he will intervene in Sarah's case and ensure that those who believe in marriage, as defined in the Bible, between one man and one woman, will not lose their jobs but be wholly and properly protected by the law.
"This government has seriously let down the Christian community. Easter statements of sentiment will not suffice. Consistent behaviour is what will be believed."