Duke Amachree – sacked by Wandsworth Council just for mentioning God
Last night there was a candle-lit prayer vigil outside Wandsworth’s Town Hall. It was not for the success of the Copenhagen Climate Summit, the starving of Africa or the homeless of London, but for a former employee by the name of Duke Amachree, 53, a ‘gentle, intelligent and compassionate’ father of three, who was dismissed in July after 18 years of loyal and diligent service as a homelessness prevention officer.
He mentioned God in the workplace.
Mr Amachree was assisting a woman with her housing needs. She spoke to him of her illness, which doctors had pronounced incurable. Moved by compassion, Mr Amachree, considered by all who know him to be a sincere and kind-hearted man of faith, offered comfort by commenting that sometimes the doctors do not know everything and he encouraged her to consider putting her faith in God. Two days later he was handed a letter informing him he had been suspended, had his ID pass confiscated and was escorted from the premises. Amazingly, Mr Amachree’s solicitor was even told in a meeting prior to the dismissal that it was not advisable to say ‘God bless’ either.
Good God. Christ Almighty. Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
A million times every day in thousands of places of work the name of the Lord will be taken in vain and blasphemed. But when it is invoked faithfully, it appears now to be a dismissible offence.
At least in Wandsworth.
Would a Muslim be sacked for saying Inshallah?
Don’t go there.
So incensed were Mr Amachree's family, friends and fellow employees at the draconian actions of Wandsworth Council that last week they launched the ‘Justice For Duke’ Campaign.
The Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Mr Amachree in this case, like hundreds of others across the UK, said that in its experience Wandsworth’s treatment of Mr Amachree was one of the most ‘astonishing for the extreme treatment of a long-serving employee when there was no breach of contract and where the supposed “misdemeanour” was the merest mention of God’.
And they ask: “Is this really the Britain we live in?”
Yes, sadly, it is.
Certainly for nurses, teachers, pupils, police officers, foster parents, registrars, adoption agencies and employees of British Airways.
And it is a climate created by New Labour and the (now) faithful professing Roman Catholic Tony Blair. How could it be that the man widely judged to be the most devout prime minister since Gladstone has done more to undermine Christian liberties than any challenge to the faith on these islands in more than three centuries?
Labour have been so intent on legislating for ‘equality’ and tolerance towards every intolerant minority that they have ceased to realise that they have simultaneously legislated for the intolerance of the tolerant Christian majority.
When Christians dare to be convicted, they are portrayed as bigots. When they articulate a view with which others may disagree, they are dogmatic. When they fall short of perfection, they are pilloried and cast as hypocrites. When they defend the unborn, they are unenlightened. When they oppose animal-human embryos, they are anti-science. When they express concern over the fatherless, they are homophobic. When they speak up for the poor, they are wishy-washy liberals. When they defend faith-based education, they are intolerant. When they seek to uphold marriage, they are ‘right wing’ reactionaries.
And when they mention God in the workplace, they are offensive extremists and eccentric odd-balls.
Commenting in Parliament about increasing prejudice and incidences of discrimination against Christians, Harriet Harman said: “This is really just a matter of basic good practice and common sense. There is nothing in any law or guidance that requires people to act daft.”
Common sense expressed towards Christians in their places of work would be welcome indeed: it would be an excellent Christmas present for us all.