Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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.

His offence?

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.

54 Comments:

Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

‘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.’

Wow!

It’s as if that prose came from the 20th Century’s greatest writer: Alexander Solzhenytsyn (1918-2008).

If only our vicars spoke like that in the Sunday morning sermon. Still they will have to answer, one day, the question: How did you feed my people?




[Fellow posters please don't forget to donate to His Grace's case.]

16 December 2009 at 09:40  
Blogger Revd John P Richardson said...

Still, we must be doing something right. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." So said Jesus, and in case anyone wants to reply, "Ah, but Jesus was kind and tolerant," I suggest they try reading a gospel. I remember getting to the end of Matthew once, not so long ago, and thinking to myself, "It's a wonder he had any mates at all!"

16 December 2009 at 09:46  
Blogger I am Stan said...

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?

It does not surprise me your Grace, Blair the warmonger and liars whose hands are dripping with the blood of thousands and Blair now laughingly if it were not so tragic and lethal now pimps himself around the world as a peace envoy,is the egomaniac and narcissist who started this climate of fear and Pc bullying in the first place...now his wannabes are carrying on his tradition...it is devastaing to know that we are now at a point in history were a good and sincere man cannot give comfort to the dieing without risk of losing everything.

16 December 2009 at 09:55  
Blogger Tarquin said...

"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."

welcome to the world of politics

You know, the woman presumably filed a complaint about him bringing religion into it - that sort of comment can be pretty offensive to some people, such displays of religion in government aren't even tolerated in the far more pious US

that said, people should have a thicker skin and it's very harsh, I don't agree with the situation much

But then I don't agree with what he did either

16 December 2009 at 09:55  
Blogger I am Stan said...

Could this unfortunate lady not have show a little grace and thanked him for his kind words even she did not have any faith....a man tried to give her comfort the best way he knew how and she threw it back in his face...just say thanks and move on...what does she think she has achieved?...pointless.

16 December 2009 at 10:02  
Blogger The Anti Christ said...

I AM GETTING ON THE CASE. I URGE EVERYONE WHO CARES TO VISIT THE LINK AND SIGN THE PETITION THEN WRITE TO YOUR MP.

If you go to THIS WEBSITE and tap in your post code you can find the MP and MEP, Lords and councillors for your area. Write to them all. You can draft one letter and click to send to all......DO IT!

THIS CRAP HAS TO END.

16 December 2009 at 10:03  
Blogger Ian said...

Your Grace - this is a very important post and is unfortunately symptomatic of life in 'Great' Britain today.

Unfortunately after eulogising this sad state of affairs, you then use this to make a political point regarding New Labour and their wanton destruction of our country and its values.

While this is not something I disagree with per se, by making it, you implicitly make the case for the conservatives as some sort of saviour to this madness.

A Christian knows that the only saviour is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, while a politically aware communicant knows the conservatives offer nothing but the same state of affairs articulated above because most of this is eminating from the secular EU and the cons are fully signed up members.

16 December 2009 at 10:04  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Requiescat in pace common sense.

16 December 2009 at 10:28  
Blogger Maturecheese said...

Your Grace,

Have Wandsworth council put out a statement explaining their side of things yet? I doubt if they will as it will be a matter of 'data protection' etc. The words Hell and Handcart spring to mind.

16 December 2009 at 10:42  
Blogger Marcellus said...

The Christian religion is one of the glues of English society.

The Left therefore wish to undermine it as part of their long term plan to destroy English society and replace it with their new social order.

16 December 2009 at 10:54  
Blogger Marcellus said...

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.

This an excellent statement of the issue.

However, what do you expect if you leave the Left in absolute control of broadcast news and current affairs?

16 December 2009 at 11:16  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Interesting that atheism trumps even multi-ethnicity in the minds of the Righteous.

16 December 2009 at 11:32  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Your Grace, whilst this is appalling, what I do not understand is how this chap could be in effect sacked on the spot. This kind of action is only usually reserved for 'gross misconduct'. I wonder how the council decided that this was gross misconduct within 2 days of the incident occurring and without presumably asking for his side of the story or having a fuller investigation. If there were issues here viz the council policy or whatever, surely a brief discussion between the employee and the employer would have been a more sensible option, than taking matters to this extreme?

16 December 2009 at 11:40  
Blogger Preacher said...

Your Grace.
I feel that a time of seperation is forthcoming, "goats & sheep" or "wheat & chaff". Yesterday & todays blogs sadly but clearly show a deeper, spiritual disease is now infecting our society than has ever been seen before, the carrier of this Leprosy has been the government of recent years, its spread has been assisted by those who have seared their consciences & oppose anything that is good & right if it serves to contradict their base desires or dares to mention Jesus or God in any way except as a swear word.
This disease will prove eternally fatal. There is a remedy but sadly most of the infected suffer from a malady called spiritual blindness which prevents them from seeing it. Out of love & concern for them I will continue to dispense said remedy in the hope that some may avoid the fatal consequences of this awful terminal condition.

16 December 2009 at 11:42  
Blogger dutchlionfrans1953 said...

1979: Driving around with a post-card size sticker of a red hand with the index-finger pointing towards heaven saying One Way Jesus on a white background on the back of my orange coloured Renault 4 car on the former Naval Air Base Valkenburg, MVKV (Marine Vliegkamp Valkenburg) while under training to be an observer/ tactical officer on a Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft (LRMP) cost me my career and life.

But because Christians were not layed off openly as is now the case, but more subtly, making it more covert and thus even unnoticable by fellow Christians, who even told me that nobody gets a medical discharge from the Navy without a good cause...making my life even more miserable, instead of supporting me as the Christians did in the Sovyet Union and other communist nations. Because the Christians there knew that some of them were being condemned to a psychiatric prison because of their Christian faith...but in the Netherlands and the West in general they did not think our nations/ governments would do such a thing...

I am now still seeking prosecution of the head of the psycho-diagnostic department of the SMD-Driehuis, Mr van Gink, who did the so called 'psycho-diagnostic investigation, made the diagnosis, and wrote the report which led to my medical discharge, though he was not qualifie to do so as he had only done some courses in the field but was no psychiater, nor psychologist, and the psyhciater of the Naval Hospital in Overveen Netherlands, Dr. van Overloop, who is guilty of fraud etc. for covering it all up, giving the courts and other medical and other people who investigate my complaints and cases ONLY by looking at the documents, never into the true events and facts - they do not want to know even! And though I tell them, they do not take me seriously!- that the unqualified guy wrote yet this psychiater signed as if he had done it all. But I have never seen the man in my life! Such is the criminal STATE-MAFFIA we are dealing with! They have the power, so what can we do? Justice will never come from these guys! It is only getting worse as we see.

Untill!... God still is the OMNIPOTENT! And He still rules the Universe! And one day! One day! His judgment will come.

We MUST keep on trusting His character and wisdom, and Word, even when everything in our lives and world seem to contradict it all.

16 December 2009 at 12:52  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Dutchlion,

Semper fidelis!

"And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, 'Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.' And Jesus saith unto him, 'I will come and heal him.'
"The centurion answered and said, 'Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, 'Go,' and he goeth; and to another, 'Come,' and he cometh; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he doeth it.'

"When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, 'Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

"And Jesus said unto the centurion, 'Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.' And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."

(Matthew 8:5-13).

16 December 2009 at 13:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I am about to say is very
unchristian but that woman is a
sadistic bitch and worth less than nothing!

16 December 2009 at 13:05  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Anon

You insult her Maker. Better to confess and plead mercy than have His wrath visit you.

He is the God who forgives men their wrong-doing without consulting the victim.

16 December 2009 at 13:11  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Anon at 13.05- oh come on! First, his Grace has kindly asked that people do not post as anonymous and second your comment (who exactly are you referring to anyway?) adds zero to the intelligent and erudite discussion of his Grace’s religious- political blog.

16 December 2009 at 13:17  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Lord Lavendon,

Please just ignore the anonymice.

His Grace is considering the rent-o-kill option.

16 December 2009 at 13:49  
Anonymous Anabaptist said...

Whilst Wandsworth's ruling is clearly a ludicrous overreaction, there is nevertheless a small kernel of important principle in their action, namely: that Christians (nor practitioners of any other religion or philosophy) should not use their employment position to evangelise or proselytise. They are not employed to be preachers of the gospel to the 'captive audience' of their clients/subjects/pupils, and it is wrong for them to take such advantage of any role which puts them in a position of power.

Christians should live as Christians, and their conduct of love, justice and equity should and will testify to their convictions. They should not see their jobs as opportunities for evangelism.

If (like, apparently, Lillian Ladele) they find that the simple exercise of their principles puts them into conflict with their employers, then so be it: they should be willing to take the consequences of their following of Jesus, and follow him, if necessary, to the cross.

That is almost certainly not the case with Duke Amachree, who was nothing but well-meaning, and who has almost certainly been misinterpeted as proselytising. A gentle and simple rebuke should have been sufficient, but the functionaries who operate in Wandsworth don't seem capable of such subtlety. Nevertheless, they have a point.

16 December 2009 at 14:01  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

What this case shows is how subtle and yet ‘clinically efficient’ Left-liberalism is in imposing one of the worst forms of oppression: self-censorship. For that is the chilling effect of what the council in question has done.

Councils are institutions within the civil sphere. The case shows the remarkable success councils have in silencing Christians in the public square.

The case brings to recall how Wrye Borough Council,, in 2005, ‘processed’ a Christian couple into silence. Mr and Mrs Roberts (pensioners) asked the council to display some Christian leaflets as the council was already displaying leaflets from another ‘faith’ group. The council reported the pensioners to the police who advised the couple that ‘they were walking on eggshells’.

The council’s defence was that the pensioners had ‘displayed potentially homophobic attitudes’ (it was the ‘potential’ (the unknown)) that had apparently threatened the council. The admitted that they had requested the police to investigate ‘with the intention of changing attitudes and educating and raising awareness…’

In other words, public institutions are collaborating and coordinating action against Christians.

What is remarkable is this; and let us squarely face this: the church at the turn of the century did not give two hoots at such issues as homosexuality – because it was dying. And certainly no practising Christian (as opposed to nominal) had attacked any gay. The gay lobby realised that if it wanted to achieve victim status it needed evidence of attacks against its community; and there certainly is evidence of attacks against gays.

It was only after civil and criminal laws passed to protect and advance the gay cause that the church realised (too late) that it itself was under attack. That was a surprise because the church had not been threatening the gay community. In a round-about way what this issue (underpinned by an aggressive EU sponsored secularism) has done is revive a dying giant.

16 December 2009 at 14:20  
Blogger JPT said...

I've also considered giving people at my work the advice that Mr Amachree gave but held back for fear of being considered a 'weirdo' but never did I hold back for fear of being sacked. I'll be wary on TWO fronts now.

16 December 2009 at 14:49  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace

There's a different spin on this story in the Wandsworth Guardian

Who to believe?

16 December 2009 at 15:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because of "equality" legislation, CRB & enhanced ISA employment checks with hearsay, the current environment & publicity he may have problems getting a job at his current or other pay level. Employers & insurance may seek to avoid liability even if injust or false. Employers,insurance & others might consider that if they don't protect general rights, their & their family's rights are in danger. Re pesecution: some haven't noticed 2 Cor where Paul lacked food, water or shelter at times. We Chritians are part of our Lord's provision.Jobs provide dignity,something to do & purpose, provision for family,education, retirement,giving to those in Christ &those in need.Unemployment job problems & persecution affect health.As indiviuals & as churches we can get serious about Mr. Amachree & other injustices & if we have influence(as the Lord's leads or not)use it; & pray;help legal funds including for non-Christians;speak up;stand by people.If in shock or falsely blamed they may doubt their circumstances(deer in headlights style)or falsely self-blame,so its harder forgive & do their part & they may despair or be passive. Company, action & help are better but words do help(or harm). Our Lord may or may not allow Mr. Amachree to bounce back quickly. If not, its not just a test of his faith in a culture where we are not used to it & so there is less empathy or help. Its also a test for us & churches. We can keep in touch & look out for him once publicity quietens, maintain public & church awareness, help him & his family in practical ways if they have need/want it & with dignity. In general lower-income Christians & churches lack PR, networks & financial safety nets & are more vulnerable to & from persecution(less eartly risk of payback for the ruthless). As with veterans some develop mental wounds. We can quit judging & help; choose to not assume family, friends, churches, charities, government, the vicar, health & social workers help meet all needs. Stereotypes of how Christians & others react to affliction are harsh to those already suffering; we can ditch cultural fables & generalisations. Our Lord in Gethsemane begged for company & prayer.Titus' visit encouraged Paul i.e. he was disheartened before that visit. There but for the grace of God go all of us. We often assume all is & will be ok & don't follow up, assuming others will or that the afflicted will ask or go for help. They do but some are mistreated when they do & quit asking. They may rationally isolate because "help" may be cruel, patronising, ignorant or "religious" but not just being a friend. We desert the suffering (?not fun,exciting or "the Lord's work"?) or act as Job's comforters chiding them to have more faith or looking for "hidden" sins our Lord is punishing via trials. So the afflicted are abandoned in their time of pain or need as if they lack faith or need to pull themself up by the bootstraps. That is not scriptural. We are all imperfect.No man is an island. We can treat the persecuted as we do those who are grieving losses.We can get give to & help those suffering for their faith as well as others treated unjustly,also lest we lose freedoms including to worship freely because of our own passivity or shock or ignorance about suffering. In denial we think persecution happens in other "bad" countries, not here in "our Christian" countries, just because noone has arrested us directly yet. Will we love God and His people & all people? Will we stand by or run away in fear? If we look at what we/others do, not what we/they say, we can come out of denial, shrewd as snakes & innocent as doves & love our Lord, His people & all people."anonym"

16 December 2009 at 16:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace
Thankyou for this blog. It provides fellowship and also stimulus for the old grey cells.
As D. Singh mentioned, I hope we all give something where we can so that your financial thermometer goes up adn your Christmas is not too frosty.

Dutchlionsfrans1953
Sorry to hear you have suffered. Our Lord knew what would happen before you were born. He cares.

"anonym"

16 December 2009 at 16:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord lavendon @11:40
This is how some employees of some companies, large or small, choose to mistreat the relatively less powerful or those they deem to be easy targets. It happens less in general with the beter off finnacially or in terms of social standing, becuase they have better access to justice and are more used to using legal advice.
This aspect did not surprise me. If true, which I tend to believe, what is not mentioned or easily explained is the trauma, humniliation and cruelty of such actions. When people are mistreated in such ways ie they have not committed gross misconduct, it also indirectly slanders them becuase some will assume there must be a good reason the employer acted in this way.
This stuff does happen. It happens esepecially where there is a perception that people can be mistreated and justice will probably not correct it (though the trauma and civil or criminal wrong cannot be taken back) and especially where there is not support for the victim. That is why trade unions came into being, though I don't agree with any abuse of power by any individual employers or any individual union members. Those who mistreat do not fear God at that point.

16 December 2009 at 16:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@16:21
I forgot to put "anonym" at the bottom. I cannot sign on becuase on in person because of severe hacking and harassment. I hope that his Grace is not annoyed. If His grace is not satisfied iwth a compromise of me putting 'anonym" at the bottom of posts, I would welcome a comment from His Grace. it is his site.

16 December 2009 at 16:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anabaptist from "anonym"
While I agree with you comment in other situations, you may not be aware of entrapments that happen at work or other situations to Christians, directly, or more subtely by asking them about their faith or to do something illegal or which the asker knows is aginst their Christian faith. It goes on.

In this situation someone was apprently beyond medical hope, and maybe dying. To gently mention God and thus potentially save their soul from an eternity of hell is not abusing the peron's job position. The cost of that may or not be a job for Mr. Amachree who cared for another person. It shouldn't be and it does not appear that he was not religiouly harassing the person he spoke with. The cost of following our lord is sometimes a job loss or many other kinds of afflictions.
From what has been reported I see nothing to indicate that he was using his work time for relgious matters. Are employees on the job not allowed to talk about homeopathy or aspirin(if they are into that) or how a jog helped them when stressed out or to mention anything that happened to them or someone they knew that helped them when living, suffering illness or dying? I think not. this appears to be a ridiculous application of "equality" laws, and will be detrimental to businesses, insureres, the legal system and society. It is disproportional, doesn't help equality matters, will increase discrimination, petty and frivilous litigation in other areas. It will also increase red-tape and burden human resources, insurance and business in general. Finally there is one more unemployed person, who also has a family. tax-payers were burdened with legal and council tribunal costs. And society is worse off for the injustice and pettiness which will have a severe effect on Mr. Amachree and his family, now and in the long-term. It will, for example probably deplete his savings, his employability etc. if he, his wife or children lack anything including any educational opportunitiies, the government and the council are to blame. I hope they sleep well at night. I also hope they make any necessary and sensible changes to laws as well as to guidelines for the interpretation and application thereof.

16 December 2009 at 17:08  
Blogger PaulineG said...

UMGOC:

Somebody is telling porkies, for sure, but please read the CCFON report here: http://www.ccfon.org/view.php?id=933

Knowing CCFON and respecting them as I do, I doubt very much that they would have taken on this case unless they were pretty sure where the truth is in this. If you follow the links you will see that their own solicitor reports being advised that saying "God bless" would be unacceptable. That is inconsistent with the Wandsworth Guardian report.

To me, at least, the whole Wandsworth Guardian report does not ring true.

16 December 2009 at 17:09  
Blogger Philip Cole said...

UMGOC and Pauline G

A useful link to the Wandsworth Guardian's 'Community Correspondant' Stephen Evans' take on the story is at www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/yoursay/yourneighbourhood/4492669.Why_Wandsworth_was_right_to_sack_evangelical_council_worker/.

It contains such beauties as: 'Mr Amachree is free to believe whatever superstitious mumbo jumbo he wants to' and 'employers must be permitted to declare their workplaces secular spaces and request that employees leave their religion at the door'. Wandsworth Guardian has an agenda to push, methinks!

Interestingly, 'Ecclesia' repeated their angle on the story verbatim from the Wandsworth Guardian article, clearly without bothering to go any further. But then they're interested in a 'progressive church' alliance with all people of 'good faith' (whatever that means) so it's hardly surprising.

The wider agenda of the government is to silence biblical Christian views in the public space.

16 December 2009 at 17:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"anonym"
Since the philosophy of global warming/climate change apparently has some religious protection now 9see recent case), are employees and employers(including government), if the ruling in this case prevails, banned from advocating or denying climate change in the workplace - wold that not be promoting religion, and in the name of the taxpayer and despite equalities guidelines?

It seems the government wants employers to over-protect global-warming-followers (see recent case) even by putting a potentially huge and unfair burden on employers and reducing free speech and freedom of belief, & even though it is not truly a religion yet a genuine religion is censored, and discriminated against ie Christianity, and one which has been the traditional religion of the country.

The current laws and policies of government seem to be at odds with equality and freedom, and are promoting real discrimination at work while picking on those who are not maliciously discriminatory or harassing in the workplace. They are also promoting frivilous and costly litigation and all that entails for employers, employees, government, insurance(because it is a liability issue though it should not be) and business. It will harm indiviuals, community and the country including the ecomomy becuase it adds a layer of costs (time, money, paperwork, legal advice, guidelines and policies, insurance and legal costs, distradtions from business, inflationary costs to doing business etc etc.). And most of it unnecessary. it also increases disputes, which creates bad feelings unnecessariy and reduces those traits of mercy, forebearance and getting along with people which are essential for community and business life. And clog the courts with business which would have been better dealt with, if at all (we all have to forebear people's differences and faults, don't we if we wish to mature into healthy adults), by communication and dispute management, not by litigation.

How sad.

16 December 2009 at 17:59  
Anonymous james w said...

Wandsworth Council is controlled by a large margin by the Conservative Party.

16 December 2009 at 18:19  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Pauline. I too have a great respect for CCFON and I want them to come down to speak to us here in Dorset when I can get together a group of Christians from many denominations.

What their site doesn't mention, but what the Wandsworth Guardian mentions is the accusation that Duke disclosed sensitive and personal information to the media. Of course that might be total exaggeration and part of a smear campaign by the council.

I dont know how these things work, but I would hope that the tribunal will have the opportunity of seeing all the evidence for the accusations, including I trust at least a signed statement from the woman in question.

Philip, I have tried googling Stephen Evans of Wandsworth and he also has a rant against street Pastors. With his sneering ad hominem attacks he sounds like one of the dawkins rent-a-mouth crowd.

16 December 2009 at 19:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For many centuries, Britain was what we would call "a Christian country", in the sense that Christianity was (at least nominally) intertwined with the various organs of state and society in general. These days, as anyone can clearly observe, we seem to be very rapidly moving back to a situation where Christianity is more and more removed from society, and indeed certain organs of state are now outrightly hostile to it.
Perhaps this should not dismay us too much; after all does not the Bible say that we are "in the world, but not of it"? For a long time, it has seemed like we were both "in it, and of it", in this country. I dare say that many 20th century Russian/Polish/Hungarian christians already know that sense of persecution, and maybe now it's our turn to experience a time of severe testing too?
(Apologies for remaining "anon", your Grace, I know you prefer commenters to have regular handles, but my intention is not to disrupt, but only to make a very occasional comment, so I thank you for your patience).

16 December 2009 at 20:28  
Blogger ZZMike said...

Formerly Great Britain.

Philip Cole: "'Mr Amachree is free to believe whatever superstitious mumbo jumbo he wants to'

Let's hear him say that about a Muslim.

One of the Anonymii prefers to remain that way. The problem is in distinguishing Anon[1] from Anon[n], but I think in most cases, the writing style and content will serve to separate our shy friend from the rest.

16 December 2009 at 21:58  
Blogger Tarquin said...

perhaps his grace should check stories more thoroughly:

"Wandsworth Council strongly denied Mr Amachree's account and stated that the complainant was in fact subjected to a 30-minute “barrage” from Mr Amachree who told her that the only reason she was ill was that she did not believe in God.

A source said a normal session with a council worker should last 15-20 minutes at most, yet Mr Amachree spent at least 45 minutes with the complainant which indicates the length of the "barrage".

He added: “Mr Amachree told her that she shouldn't trust doctors and that only God could cure her. He also suggested that she watch a series of videos on miracles if she wanted to be cured.”

Maybe there's an agenda - but it has far more detail than anything provided here

16 December 2009 at 22:20  
Blogger PaulineG said...

Tarquin,

The lady confided to Mr Amachree that she had been diagnosed with a terminal illness (as well as having housing problems). Would you have felt obliged to restrict the interview to the standard 15-20 minutes in such circumstances?

How can any inference as to what was said in the interview possibly be drawn from its length?

On their website (http://www.ccfon.org/view.php?id=933) today CCFON say:

"Wandsworth Council have attempted to insinuate that Duke’s case is far more serious than we portray in an attempt to undermine him. The evidence they rely on is an email and one interview of an individual, whose evidence we have never been able to test. She told an inconsistent story about how he spoke about God and stated clearly that she did not want him to lose his job over this. Wandsworth Council have preferred her story over his despite his 18 years of exemplary service."

I am sure we will all welcome an open examination of the facts. The Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Mr Amachree, will be taking this to an employment tribunal. It is to hoped that this will provide an opportunity for this 'evidence' to be properly tested.

16 December 2009 at 22:47  
Blogger Tarquin said...

Pauline

My point was that there are two sides to this - it was presented in this article as though Duke was completely innocent, without mentioning the full claims

like you say, we do not know either way and I for one would like to see the evidence scrutinised as well, I merely pointed out the other side for some balance, which should have been done in the first place

17 December 2009 at 03:37  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

Below is a series of short reports from around the world where Christians are being persecuted. I know that many Christians around the world log onto your site. I hope by reading this they shall know, that we know. They are not alone.

Men, be strong and of good courage – victory will soon be ours! But first the pain. Let us turn away from our wrong-doing.

There is a widely quoted statistic that more Christians died for their faith in the 20th century than in the 19 centuries leading up to it. But as bad as the 20th century was, the 21st century is starting to make that look like a Sunday picnic. In every corner of the globe, Christians are being shot, burned, hanged, tortured and even stuffed into metal shipping containers. Christian clergy are being marked for assassination around the world, hundreds of churches are being burned to the ground along with scores of homes and businesses owned by Christians. Dozens of nations across the globe have now passed strict anti-conversion laws in an attempt to stifle the spread of Christianity. In the countries where Christians are not yet facing physical persecution, they still must deal with open discrimination, lawsuits and increasing ridicule. Christianity is now the most hated and most persecuted religion on the plant. The reality is that the words that Jesus spoke in John 15:18 ring truer today than ever: "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first."

Keep those words in mind as you read the following shocking reports of Christian persecution from all over the world....

China

Chinese authorities have conducted a crackdown on "illegal" Christian churches in recent months that church leaders are calling the harshest in years. Christians in China are required to worship in "churches" run by state-controlled organizations, and Christians who attempt to worship on their own are brutally persecuted.

Recently, hundreds of government police and hired thugs descended on a megachurch that served approximately 50,000 worshippers, smashing doors and windows, seizing Bibles and sending dozens of worshippers to hospitals with serious injuries. The co-pastors of the church are in prison and police vehicles remain parked on virtually every corner of the neighborhood where the church is located. Scenes such as this are regularly being repeated all over China as the Communist government seeks to eliminate all religion that is not government-sanctioned.

Eritrea

In a story that recently made headlines all over the world, thirty elderly women in Eritrea were arrested for simply praying together. But the truth is that this is just the latest episode in an ongoing persecution of Christians that is beyond brutal.

17 December 2009 at 08:07  
Blogger D. Singh said...

The Pakistan Christian TV website recently described the horrifc persecution of Christians in Eritrea this way....

Today some 3,000 Eritrean Christians are imprisoned for their faith. Some are in underground and solitary cells whilst some are in 'secret' prisons for the 'disappeared'. However, most are herded into unventilated shipping containers in the desert where dysentery and infectious diseases go untreated. Torture is routine.

The truth is that these unventilated shipping containers are extremely uncomfortable. The temperatures in these metal shipping containers can reach well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and in many instances Christians are not even let out of them to use the bathroom.

Assassinations Of Clergy

Increasingly, Christian clergy are being targeted for assassination all over the world. The following are just a few of the recent examples....

*A Russian priest that had been highly critical of Islam has been assassinated inside his own church.

*Leftist guerrillas in Colombia brutally executed a Christian pastor just outside his own home.

*Two masked members of the al-Shabaab Muslim militia shot and killed a Christian pastor in Somalia as he drove home from a worship service.

India

Persecution of Christians in India is getting so bad that India actually made International Christian Concern's Hall of Shame.

According to the ICC, 2008 was particularly bad, with "wave after wave of highly coordinated Hindu raids" that resulted in "the worst outbreak of anti-Christian violence in its recent history."

The statistics that the ICC quotes regarding the outbreak of persecution in India are sobering....

"In all, more than 100 Christians are confirmed dead, 4,000 homes have burned down, and over 50,000 Christians have fled their homes."

The following is just one example of what is going on in India. This story was originally posted by The Voice of the Martyrs....

17 December 2009 at 08:08  
Blogger D. Singh said...

On April 25, Pastor Mohan Babu and two other believers were severely beaten by 35 Hindu extremists for holding a Vacation Bible School (VBS) near Bangalore City, in Karnataka State. According to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts in India, the three-day VBS was organized by Ragigudda Baptist Church. VOM sources said, "Around 60 children from different backgrounds were attending the VBS. As they were worshiping, about 35 people belonging to a Hindu extremist group forcefully entered the hut chanting slogans and demolished the hut. The extremists mercilessly beat Mohan, Samuel and Krishna, alleging forceful conversion. The perpetrators chased the children without any courtesy and tore the Bibles. Mohan was severely injured on his lips and was profusely bleeding. The believers are living in fear and did not lodge complaint with the police."

----

Egypt

Hundreds of Muslim villagers in southern Egypt recently burned and looted scores of Christian-owned shops. Christians in Egypt live in a constant state of fear and thousands are being forced to relocate. In fact, the forced deportation of Egyptian Christians from their homes by the government in order to "protect" them is rapidly increasing.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, of course, strictly forbids the conversion of any Muslim to Christianity. The penalty for conversion is death. Back in 2008, The daughter of a man who works for Saudi Arabia's religious police became a Christian after she joined an Internet chat group. He responded by cutting out her tongue and burning her to death.

The United Kingdom and Europe

All across Europe, "anti-proselytising" laws are being passed. Not only that, but other laws are being adopted that force Christians to deny their beliefs. For example, the U.K. government is being forced by the European Commission to eliminate exemptions that allow churches to refuse to employ homosexual staff.

North Korea

North Korea is one of the most brutally repressive governments in the history of mankind. Tonight more than 200,000 Christians will try to stay warm in horrific North Korean labor camps.

Christians there are considered little more than dogs as the following story from The Voice Of The Martyrs illustrates.....

----

The young brown-eyed girl looked up at her mother. What would she decide?

Earlier that morning, the young girl's mother, their pastor, and twenty-six others in her North Korean village of GokSan were bound and taken before a screaming crowd of Communists.

One of the guards ordered Pastor Kim and the other Christians, "Deny Christ, or you will die." The words chilled her. How could they ask her to deny Jesus? She knew in her heart he was real. They all quietly refused.

Then the Communist guard shouted directly at the adult Christians, "Deny Christ, or we will hang your children." The young girl looked up at her mother. She gripped her and knowing how much her mom loved her. her mother then leaned down. With confidence and peace she whispered, "Today, my love, I will see you in heaven."

All of the children were hanged.

The remaining believers were then brought out onto the pavement and forced to lie down in front of a huge steamroller. The Communists gave them one last chance. "Deny this Jesus or you will be crushed." The Christians had already given up their children; there was no turning back.

As the driver started the heavy piece of equipment, the singing from the villagers started softly. "More love, O Christ, to thee, more love to thee."

17 December 2009 at 08:08  
Blogger D. Singh said...

United States

Even with everything that has happened, the United States still offers Christians more freedom than virtually anywhere else on earth. But that is quickly changing as well. Christians in the U.S. just do not have the same level of freedom that they used to experience.

For example, school teachers in Florida say that they are being forced to hide in closets to pray after a controversial court ruling. All expressions of Christian faith are being ruthlessly pushed out of the public sphere by very powerful interest groups.

Calls for government repression of Christianity in the United States have grown louder than ever before. The Huffington Post even published a deeply disturbing article that calls evangelical Christianity the number one source of domestic terrorism in the United States and that calls on the Secret Service and the FBI to investigate and "infiltrate" pro-life and evangelical Christian groups.

Not only that, but many of the hottest best selling books in recent years have publicly mocked Christianity....

Just consider the titles of a few recent New York Times bestsellers.....

*"God is Not Great: Why Religion Poisons Everything" by journalist Christopher Hitchens.

*"The End of Faith" by atheist author Sam Harris.

*"The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins.

But this anti-Christian sentiment is just not held by a few elitists. The reality is that it has spread to much of the general population.

For example, the following are the titles of just a few anti-Christian threads on one of the most popular political discussion forums on the Internet....

“Dirty, Filthy, Christians”: Treatise On The Most Dangerous Death Cult In Human History

How can we destroy Christians?

Christians should not participate in politics

Why Christians are so ******* lame...

Attention Heterosexuals! Repent! Jesus Can Finally Make You Gay!

Christian are sub-humans

The truth is that hatred for Christians and Christianity is rapidly increasing.

Jesus warned us that these days would come.

In Matthew 24:9, Jesus told us how the world will treat Christians in the end times....

"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me."

The times ahead of us are not referred to as "the Tribulation" for nothing. It will be an absolute bloodbath for Christians. The entire world system will be geared towards eliminating all traces of the true Christian faith. Members of the same family will even betray one another to the authorities.

The truth is that things are not going to get any easier for Christians from here on out. Someday soon there will be no place to hide from Christian persecution.

When that day arrives, what will you do?

17 December 2009 at 08:09  
Blogger John Chaplain said...

My Lord Archbishop, what would happen if each beliver offended, by hearing "God" or "Jesus" used as expletive, made a complaint on the grounds that it offended our human rights? The disruption to normal life might have secularists united in demanding change just as we get a Government willing to enact it. But how to organize such a protest? Could you advise? Would you help pass the word?
jmbridges@cantab.net

17 December 2009 at 10:03  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr John Chaplain,

This may be what you are looking for: http://www.christian.org.uk/rel_liberties/ldf/employeesbooklet.pdf

17 December 2009 at 11:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only he had said ‘allah’ he would have been promoted and, who knows, may have been fast-tracked to Chief Exec.

17 December 2009 at 12:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

D.Singh@08:09
I agree there is persecution. But churches don't always support those persecuted in the US or UK. Indeed, churches, governments & society contain "wolves" & some naive sheep who are used in the "Name of Jesus" to do some of the persecution, sometimes without realising they are being used. Also some persected don't get help but condemnation when suffering. This is the reality. Even some in those organisations who reach out to the persecuted in other countries ie not the UK or US don't "get it" about what has been happening to some Christians in their midst, or the reality of what it is like to be severly persecuted.
The reason I have recently been commenting (and too much) is that I sadly know what awaits some in the UK and US if things do not change and get worse. The churches need to stand by and help the afflicted where they do not. They also need to get rid of some naivety ie don't believe necessarily what people say or what is written or said about people, including by "good" or "connected" people in authorities. There is a lot of bad stuff going on, and sophisticated abuses of power against some Chrisians and non-Christians alike. We need to wake up. The churches in the UK and US at the same time tend to stand by those who obviously don't know the Lord or are in rebellion yet profess His name, while not standing by genuine Christians becuase of ?fear? or something and also making things uncomfortable for those "sinners" who do not profess His Name but seem to be looking for God. The poor and afflicted sometimes are put down, especially in better of churches regardless of denomination. We behave like the world. And there is false teaching on suffering which drives away genuine sheep as well as the hurting looking for God.
I will shut up now. But I rant because I know what is coming if things don't change.
anonym

17 December 2009 at 14:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

D.Singh (end of my rant) and I ask for His Grace's patience - I have been ranting because in the hope that Christian brothers and sisters who have not will wake up because I don't wish what is happening and may happen on those who have not suffered persecution, whether they are Chrsistian or not, the pesecution itself or the reaction of others to the persecuted, especially those who fall through the cracks because of others' naivity, false teaching, fear, not having themselves been experienced certain kinds of affliction or beyond a certain level or not being helped in time of affliction.

And I don't wish that on genuine brothers and sisters in the church, those picked on who do not profess our lord but speak up against abuses of power or persecution of dissidents etc. or even those who are behaving like wolves. God has said that those who follow Him will be afflicted but it is a false religiosity or humility that says bring it on or suffering is wonderful and enjoyable or that those afflicted don't suffer and are fine because they are not alone ie the Lord is with them. They are fine for eternity. But real Christianity cares for the body as well as the soul. Also for those who criticise those who don't get well or those who remain poor or unsuccessful, the Lord rebuked the disciples for not having enough faith to cast out a demon. While demons are not usually the cause for many such afflictions, one principle from that event is that those who criticise the afflicted Christians should pray and if their their circumstances don't imporve they might consider that maybe their faith, not the afflicted one's faith, is lacking (though neither's may be). Also, why did Paul who had the gift of miraculous healing advise ?Timothy to take some wine for his stomach, is illness a sign of sin? Or only if one is not elderly? Re veterans - every time you imply that our Lord says that a veteran with a mental injury is a coawrd or lacks faith, I believe you misrepresent scripture and insult and are harsh to the afflicted who have also served their country. Taken logically, any Christian who physically is inured and does not recover lacks faith. That is cruel and insulting baloney. Such attitudes exist in and outside churches but lead to thos suffering, including brothers and sisters in Christ, to be thought badly of or not loved or helped in churches and outside. What do you think our Lord thinks of that. If you have only come across tales of the tortured recovering then I recommend Tortured for Christ by the Voices of Martyrs founders, though I don't agree with everything in it. btw ther are some Christians and non-Chrsitians who are or have been psychologically tortured in the US and UK. It is going on. Please pray for the victims as well as those used by evil to do such stuff. Father forgive them they know not what they do. For any who have wronged others in this manner, "the Lord turns all things to good for those who follow Him" including the wrongs they have done to Christians or others. There is no sin which our Lord cannot forgive, and no hurt or wrong which is beyond our Lord's help, even if some things are not righted or healed until heaven.
anonym

17 December 2009 at 14:34  
Anonymous len said...

If, as we Christians believe, Jesus was a perfect man, so full of goodness, why did so many people hate Him? Why was He persecuted and executed?

It's because He was so full of goodness.

"In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." – John 1: 4-5 KJV

Understanding the world's "uncomprehending darkness," Jesus counseled His followers that they also would be "persecuted for righteousness' sake." And who can deny that being willing to suffer for righteousness – for what is right – is a reality of the true Christian life? It is, after all, how God demonstrated His love to the human race – through the redemptive suffering of His Son.

17 December 2009 at 19:50  
Anonymous Hans Wildebeeste said...

As one of the forty or so people at the prayer vigil, may I make one small correction, Your Grace - it was *not* candlelit!

17 December 2009 at 23:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What will the Queen do in her Christmas address to the Commonwealth? She dare not mention God, Christ or any religious conviction according to the new rules.

18 December 2009 at 04:03  
Anonymous len said...

The Queen as defender of the faith should surely ,on occasion, mention God?

19 December 2009 at 22:27  
Blogger Peter said...

Mr Cranmer,

Whilst I might agree that the punishment was harsh for Duke Amachree and maybe just a written warning would have been sufficient, as a Tax Payer I pay the wages for Duke Amachree and I don’t want my tax money used to spread Faith nor Religion.

The problem seems to be that Christians have forgotten how lucky they are to live in such a wonderfully tolerant country as the UK and are now taking things for granted. It might be that Christians think they can have it all their own way all the time, just because they are numerous and supported by the people they mix with, they think Might = Right.

For example: Several countries have banned the right to express religion in a public place, that means no handing out of leaflets saying ‘ Jesus Loves You ‘ at train stations and no street preachers. In the UK we are very very tolerant of such activities , this does not mean it is a good thing. Smoking is still permitted in public places, but I would hope that we would all agree that society would be better off without Smoking

I guess the phrase ‘ If you abuse it – You’ll lose it ‘ springs to mind. Duke Amachree abused the tolerance of UK society and he lost his job.

10 April 2010 at 18:30  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Peter

I am a Judaeo-Christian and a tax payer.

You are lucky to live in a country where Christian principles have underpinned our democracy; for example study the text of Magna Carta.

You are the Lucky Boy in the 3.30 at Epsom.

You geddit?

10 April 2010 at 22:09  

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