The persecution of Felix Ngole

Christians are being hounded out of social work in the name of ‘tolerance’.

Lauren Smith

Topics Free Speech Identity Politics UK

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It seems like social work is no place for Christians in the UK. Felix Ngole, a social worker and pastor, had a job offer withdrawn last year because of his Christian views on same-sex relationships.

In 2022, Ngole was offered a job at Touchstone, an NHS provider that offers mental-health and wellbeing services to people across Yorkshire. But when the charity learned that Ngole was a Christian who believed that homosexuality was a sin, he was called back in for another interview (Ngole says it felt more like an interrogation). His job offer was then promptly rescinded.

Ngole has taken his case to an employment tribunal in Leeds, where the case is currently ongoing, to argue that his sacking amounts to discrimination under the Equality Act. Certainly, Touchstone’s treatment of him looks to be horribly unjust. In defence of its decision to reject Ngole, the charity has made the absurd claim that employing him would have literally led to deaths. Should Ngole be allowed to work at Touchstone, the charity told the tribunal, there would be a serious risk of LGBT service-users killing themselves.

This is a grotesque suggestion. Ngole says that over his 20-year career as a youth worker, pastor and teacher, he has helped people from all kinds of backgrounds and communities, without discriminating against any of them. ‘Not long ago I worked with a trans person’, he told the tribunal, ‘and I treated them as a human being’.

His record would seem to back this up. Indeed, as Ngole’s lawyers have pointed out, Touchstone decided he was the best candidate for the role before it found out about his religious beliefs. He scored exceptionally well on every assessment given to him (including in equality and diversity) and was ‘enthusiastically’ offered the job.

This is not the first time that Ngole has been treated unfairly for his beliefs. In 2015, he was unceremoniously thrown off his university course. While studying for a social-work degree at Sheffield University, Ngole made comments on Facebook calling homosexuality a ‘sin’. A fellow student reported him to the university.

After Ngole refused to renounce his opinions, he was removed from the course. Apparently, he was unable to practise within the rules of the Health and Care Professions Council. After various court and appeal hearings, Ngole finally managed to have the decision overturned in 2019 at the Court of Appeal. It was only after Googling Ngole’s name and reading about this case that Touchstone learnt about his views on homosexuality.

It is deeply ironic that Ngole has been hounded out of his profession under the guise of ‘tolerance’. He hasn’t been intolerant towards anyone. He hasn’t discriminated against people or even acted unprofessionally. ‘I do not believe I have to agree with a person in order to meet their needs’, he told the tribunal. He says he had no intention of imposing his views on anyone else.

That, in a nutshell, is what tolerance actually looks like: being free to hold your own opinions, being free to criticise the opinions of others, but ultimately resolving to live and let live. But tolerance has come to mean its precise opposite today. Anyone who doesn’t agree with mainstream views on sexuality, say, is deemed beyond the pale, harmful to minorities and perhaps even unworthy of employment.

This has got to stop. It is religious persecution with a woke gloss. Here’s hoping Felix Ngole prevails, and lands another blow against the new intolerance.

Lauren Smith is a staff writer at spiked.

Picture by: YouTube

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Topics Free Speech Identity Politics UK


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