Christian student expelled from social work course over views on marriage

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Christian student expelled from social work course over views on marriage

Student expelled from Sheffield University course for comments on Facebook
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A Christian student has been expelled from a university social work course, after he made comments on his own Facebook page in support of biblical teaching on marriage and sexual ethics.
Second year Masters student Felix Ngole, 38, was told following a ‘Fitness to Practise Committee’ hearing at Sheffield University, that he has been “excluded from further study on a programme leading to a professional qualification” and is “no longer recognised as a University student.”
Felix was told that, by posting his comments on Facebook, the Committee believed that he “may have caused offence to some individuals” and had “transgressed boundaries which are not deemed appropriate for someone entering the Social Work profession.”
His action would have an effect on his “ability to carry out a role as a Social Worker,” the Committee said.
Felix is appealing the decision, supported by the Christian Legal Centre.
If the decision is not overturned, it could prevent Felix from becoming a social worker, which he believes is his vocation.
Felix’s case has gained widepsread media coverage, including The Times, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Mail and The Express giving a Christian witness about marriage.
Read coverage from The Telegraph
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‘Secret policing of Christian beliefs’

Felix says that the University’s decision to exclude him effectively creates a “bar to office for Christians” and amounts to “secret policing of Christian belief.”
He says that he is “determined to challenge the decision because of its wider consequences and the huge issues of freedom of religion and freedom of expression that it raises.”
“My beliefs about marriage and sexual ethics reflect mainstream, biblical understanding, shared by millions around the world. Simply expressing that understanding, in a personal capacity, on my Facebook page, cannot be allowed to become a bar to serving and helping others in a professional capacity as a social worker,” he adds.

Targeted over Facebook comments

Felix made the comments in question last September on his personal Facebook page, in connection with the case of Kim Davis, the marriage clerk from the US state of Kentucky, who expressed a conscientious objection to issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples.
Felix expressed support for Kim Davies’ freedom and in the course of the discussion explained biblical teaching on sexual ethics.
Nearly two months later, he received an email from a university official telling him that his comments were being investigated and summoning him to a meeting the following Monday.
Following further meetings, he has now been told that the Faculty of Social Sciences Fitness to Practise Committee had ruled that he should be removed from the course.
Read coverage from the Mail
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‘Students being censored’

Felix said: “The way that I have been treated raises very serious issues about the way students in English universities are being censored in their views and beliefs.   “If the personal statements of students on their own social media pages, and amongst their own ‘friends’ are now to be used to judge whether they are ‘fit and proper people’ to serve in professions such as law, medicine, teaching and social work, then very serious questions need to be asked about the freedoms in the UK.   “A university is not the proper body to judge whether a potential student is a fitting person to join a professional body. That is for the professional body concerned.  If universities are now to scrutinise their student’s social media accounts, then students should be warned about that at the very start of their studies, and should be given the opportunity to decide whether it is the sort of university they want to attend.
“However, there is a far more serious issue at stake.  Further education is a time when all students should be helped to explore their beliefs, through interaction and debate. If they are ‘censored’ from even sharing their ideas or beliefs as part of a discussion on Facebook then how can that happen?  Even the Soviet Union did not restrict students like this!”
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‘Christians neutered in the public arena’

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said:
“The university’s treatment of Felix fundamentally violates its responsibilities under the human rights legislation. The university has failed to protect his freedom of speech under Article 10 and his freedom of religion under Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Students are entitled to discuss and debate their own personal views on their own Facebook page.
“Felix has worked with people who identify as homosexual, treating them with respect and kindness. What he shared on his Facebook page simply reflects biblical teaching on sexual behaviour.
“He is not yet a social worker, and unless we win this case he will be barred from social work. Felix is a student, who is entitled to express his views, especially ones shared by millions of people around the world.
“There is no evidence that Felix’s views adversely impacted his work. quite the contrary he was a hard-working student who should qualify in due course and be an asset to the profession.
“Sadly, this is yet another case of Christians being punished in the public arena, and of censorship of views. We will help Felix fight this through the University’s appeals process, and to Judicial Review if necessary.”
Read coverage from the Times (£)
Donate to help us to support Felix and others

Please help us to support Felix and others

The Christian Legal Centre is not charging Felix for the support that we give him. We are able to offer support to those who need it because of your generosity. Thank you.
Felix needs our help. But, as ever, the case is not just about him. It’s about protecting the freedom to preach the gospel and express biblical truths in public.
Please help us to support people like Felix as they stand up for gospel freedoms by making a donation, however small, if you can.
Donate to help us to support Felix and others

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