Articles

School attacks freedom of religion

By January 17, 2022No Comments

Part-time pastor who received death threats and was hounded out of caretaker job after saying Christians should not support ‘Pride’ [read Shame] events sues school for wrongful dismissal

Keith Waters is taking action against Active Learning Trust over the Twitter post

He resigned from Isle of Ely Primary for saying that ‘Pride’ is ‘harmful to children’

The 55-year-old will argue school interfered with his rights to freedom of religion

Claims constructive dismissal, indirect discrimination, breach of equality duty

By JAMES GANT FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 14:57, 17 January 2022 | UPDATED: 15:34, 17 January 2022

A pastor who received death threats and was ‘hounded out’ of his caretaker job for saying Christians should not support ‘Pride’ is suing the school for unfair dismissal.

Keith Waters is taking action against Active Learning Trust after he resigned from Isle of Ely Primary in Cambridgeshire for tweeting the events are ‘harmful to children’.

The 55-year-old will argue the bosses interfered with his rights to freedom of religion, expression and thought at the tribunal in Cambridge this week.

He will claim for constructive dismissal, indirect discrimination, and breach of public sector equality duty.

His lawyers will argue the post was a manifestation of his Christian beliefs and that historic Christian views on sexual ethics should not be confused with ‘homophobia’.

Mr Waters joined Isle of Ely Primary School from his caretaker job at Cambridge University in 2016 so he could work as a pastor at Ely New Connexions Church.

He took on the role with the agreement if there was a conflict between the two jobs, his church one would take priority.

He made clear he would ‘be unequivocal in publicly stating the Christian doctrine on various issues, some of which may be unpopular’.

He tweeted on June 1, 2019: ‘A reminder that Christians should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June.

‘They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Christian faith and morals. They are especially harmful to children.’

Mr Waters claims he wanted to warn Christians against the events through June because they often involve nudity and sexual scenes.

He believes LGBTQ pride events are against Christian beliefs on sexual ethics and therefore are harmful.

His tweet landed him in hot water on social media, with a swift pile on damning him for alleged homophobia.

Local councillors and pressure groups condemned him online and he also faced death threats.

His wife answered the door one day to funeral directors who had been sent to arrange his ‘funeral’.

Meanwhile estate agents contacted him having been told he was moving from the area ‘in a hurry’.

And on one occasion a local allegedly nearly rammed him off his bike using their car before arguing with him.

Mr Waters deleted the post [Why?] but was told by the headmaster the incident was being investigated by the school for bringing it ‘into disrepute’.

One letter claimed his tweet called for ‘violence against people who support the Ely Pride Festival’.

An anonymous teacher also claimed his post fell ‘within the British government’s definition of extremism’ and that action must be taken against him.

The probe ended with him issued a final written warning for a ‘highly inappropriate and offensive’ tweet which broke the school’s code of conduct.

Mr Waters later resigned.

Ahead of the hearing today, he said: ‘The whole episode left me in emotional turmoil and has taken a lasting toll on me and my family.

‘In 37 years of employment, I had never been treated in such an uncaring and hostile way. I was left with the choice of resigning or being silenced and unable to express my beliefs as a Christian pastor.

‘I had lots of parents pulling me to the side telling me that they supported me, but they wouldn’t dare say so out of fear that the social media mob would also turn on them.

‘Being given a final warning meant that I would not be able to do the things I do as a pastor, which is standing up for the truth of the Bible.

‘I’m not doing this because I want to sue the school, but because I believe it’s the right thing to do.

‘I want to ensure that other Pastors in the future that have to work part time in a secular organisation, will be free to preach the truth and not lose their job.

‘I still stand by what I said, and I’ll always stand up for the truth. I believe that children’s safety is paramount.

‘Through the investigation, disciplinary action and appeal the school seemed unable to distinguish between homosexual people and LGBTQ pride.

‘They are two separate things. There are many people with same sex attraction who are totally opposed to what happens at Pride parades as one of the stated aims of the ‘Pride’ movement is to celebrate a wide variety of sexual lifestyles, which are diametrically opposed to Christian sexual ethics.

‘Anyone who attends a ‘Pride’ event risks being exposed to obscenities. That is self-evidently harmful for children and in a free, responsible and truly loving society we must be free to say that and raise concern without fear.’