Christian Concern

Pastor felt forced to leave school job after tweet about Pride

Sun 01 Dec 2019
By Cara Bentley

A pastor and school caretaker, who received abuse and threats for a tweet about LGBTQ Pride is taking legal action against the school which he felt forced to leave.

Keith Waters, 53, pastor of New Connexions Free Church in Ely, wrote online on 1st June: "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."

A local journalist responded to the now deleted tweet saying he was attacking the LGBTQ community and two days later he was on the front page of the Cambridge Evening News after he refused to apologise to another journalist who approached him before his Sunday service.

Mr Waters said his post was directed to Christians and he was referring to inappropriate outfits children might see. 

 

The preacher from Ely in Cambridgeshire, who also worked as a caretaker at the Isle of Ely Primary School, said he then experienced a series of harassments and threats, including his wife Joanna being asked by a funeral director what she would like to be done with his body and estate agents contacting them, having been told he was leaving the area ‘in a hurry’.

A local parent from the school he worked in also ranted at him from a car while he was on his bike and the head teacher informed him that he was being investigated for bringing the school ‘into disrepute’ after receiving a handful of complaints.

He was then given a final warning by the head teacher for breaking the code of conduct and he decided to resign. 

Pastor Waters is now suing for constructive dismissal, indirect discrimination and breach of public sector equality duty. He also believes that the school has interfered with his rights to freedom of religion, expression and thought and is being supported by Christian Concern. 

 

 

Pastor Waters said: "Anyone who believes in freedom of religion and expression should be very concerned about my story. This was an attack, not just against my Christian beliefs, but against anyone who dares to question these matters in public. The biggest concern should be that a story like mine is becoming normal.

"I maintain that my tweet did not discriminate against anyone. It was directed to Christians and it did not criticise individuals or the LGBT community, only Pride events. Other people have been mortified at how I have been treated but are too fearful to speak out.

"Children should never be exposed to nudity or overt sexuality, whether that’s at Gay Pride or anywhere else. I am determined to fight for the freedom to say that, and believe that no one should lose or be forced out of their job for holding and expressing legitimate views."

  

 

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