Pastor and School Caretaker Wins Employment Court Ruling
Mr Keith Waters, Pastor of Ely New Connexions Church won an Employment Court ruling last week after he was fired for posting on Twitter “LGBTQ Pride events are harmful and should not be attended by Christians and children.”
Employment Judge King ruled that Pastor Waters had been hounded out of his part-time caretaker position at the Isle of Ely primary school after posting his views on Twitter, the social media platform.
In his ruling, Judge King wrote,
“The fact that the claimant made the tweet outside of work on his personal account as part of his role as a Christian minister is highly relevant. It is one thing to have rules that apply to work and something else to extend those to one’s private life outside of work.
“To curtail the claimant’s freedom of speech outside of work which is an important part of his role as a Christian minister and thus part of freedom to practice his religion must be done with some exercise of caution and only in the clearest cases where the rights of others are being damaged should the School intervene to prevent the claimant from preaching.
“It is clear to us that evangelical Christian ministers will have views not necessarily shared by everyone in Society but that is part of their duty as a Christian minister to preach those beliefs.”
Citing the Grainger PLC v Nicholson case of 2010, Judge King said,
“We discussed the claimant’s beliefs and we were satisfied that the claimant genuinely held these beliefs and that they formed a considerable part of how he lived his life as a Christian minister for his Church. To the claimant they were cogent, serious and of the upmost importance.
“We spent more time considering the last of the Grainger requirements and whether all of the claimant’s beliefs are worthy of respect in a democratic society and in particular his views on sexual relationships being only within heterosexual marriage as these may be said to conflict with the fundamental rights of others.
“However, it is clear that the same could be said about some other aspects of Christianity which could conflict with other religions. This does not mean that they are not capable of being respected. Whilst a majority may not share those views, the claimant is entitled to hold them. This is of course different to how those beliefs manifest themselves to the specific issues in this case.
“Beliefs which are offensive, shocking or even disturbing to others can still be protected.”
In his remarks after the ruling, Pastor Waters said,
“I am relieved and pleased with the outcome. This is a victory, not just for me, but for Christian evangelical leaders across the country.”
He continued, “I still stand by what I said, and I’ll always stand up for the truth. I believe that children’s safety is paramount, and that everyone, but especially Christian pastors, must be able to voice concerns and raise ‘red flags’ where children may be at risk.”
Pastor Waters’ case received legal assistance through Christian Concern.