UK ‘hostile to Christianity’, says London nursery worker who claims she was fired over views on homosexuality
n evangelical Christian who claims she was fired from her job at a nursery because of her views on homosexuality believes there is “state-sponsored hostility” to her religion in the UK, a tribunal heard today.
In an official statement, Belgian national Sarah Mbuyi said there was an “attitude of disrespect” for religion in Britain that makes it worse than many other European Union countries.
The Tottenham woman was dismissed for gross misconduct in January 2014 by Newpark Childcare in Shepherds Bush for harassing a married lesbian colleague by telling her her sexual orientation was a “sin”. She denies harassment, claiming that the gay woman approached her asking about religion and same-sex marriage.
In her statement to her employment tribunal in Watford, Ms Mbuyi said she enjoyed living in the UK after but added: “However, the clear (it feels, state-sponsored) hostility to Christian values means that the UK is considerably worse than many other EU member states in relation to freedom of religion.
“There is a feeling in the UK that Christianity does not need to be respected and can be disparaged. With other faiths there is extreme sensitivity from employers. This attitude of disrespect is very strange; this would not occur in Belgium and I cannot understand why the UK displays such Christian animus.”
She added: “As a Christian I try to be kind and considerate; I am conscious of the need to act in a manner appropriate to my faith. As a citizen I have as many rights to discuss my faith as any other subject, such as politics or sexuality.”
The devout Christian, who said she takes her views on homosexuality and marriage from the Bible, is fighting her sacking for breaching the family-owned Montessori nursery’s equality rules, claiming that in doing so it breached European law.
She accuses the lesbian, who cannot be named for legal reasons, of approaching her and asking about her faith and church, and saying it was “unfair” she had not been able to marry her partner in a church.
Under cross examination at the tribunal today Ms Mbuyi denied commenting on her colleague’s lifestyle without being asked.
The nursery’s barrister, Deshpal Panesar, said: “You volunteered that her sexual orientation was a sin, didn’t you?”
Ms Mbuyi replied: “No, that is wrong. I said that I can’t tell you that God is ok with that. But I also said that he can’t hate you because of it, because he doesn’t.”
Mr Panesar then asked: “You felt the need to confront her because of her sin?”
She replied: “No, she chose to confront me.”
The tribunal, which is due to last until Thursday, continues.