Brits will throw the book at you (but not The Good Book, presumably) if you bully people by praying

Get caught doing this in Britain and guess what? You are a bully.

Get caught doing this in Britain and guess what? You might be branded a bully.

Steer well clear of Britain, if you happen to be a Christian.

Doing some of the things that good Christians are supposed to do could land you in big trouble.

Praying to The Almnighty, for example.

Or inviting people to a church event.

Alf draws attention to the monstrous case of Victoria Wasteney, an occupational therapist, who has been condemned for inviting another woman – who happened to be a Muslim, but that should be neither here nor there – to a sports day at her church.

A disciplinary hearing has found her guilty of a further count of misconduct. Yep. The hapless Miss Wasteney offended by lending the colleague a book about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity.

Now she is being denied basic liberties that the British Government has gone to war to uphold.

The Daily Mail has highlighted the story:

The 37-year-old, who was suspended for nine months, has now been banned from discussing her faith at work and given a formal warning by East London NHS Foundation Trust that will remain on her record for a year.

Miss Wasteney, from Essex, has criticised the National Health Service for being intolerant.

‘I believe in tolerance for everyone,’ she told the Telegraph.

‘It certainly wasn’t an attempt to convert her to Christianity,’ she added.

According to her account of what happened, she invited the colleague to a number of church events after she showed an interest in the work they do against human trafficking.

When the woman went on sick leave, she recommended a book about a Muslim converting that they had discussed at work.

And when the colleague came into her office in tears over health problems, Miss Wasteney claims she told her to draw on her faith, before they prayed together.

Big mistake.

In June last year, Miss Wasteney was told she was the subject of a formal bullying complaint and would have to be suspended while the accusations were investigated.

In February, a hearing upheld three charges of misconduct.

She is now challenging the ruling with the support of the Christian Legal Centre.

A good Christian should turn the other cheek, of course.

Readers commenting on this report wonder if there is more to this story than what the Daily Mail has published.

One said:

“Your there to work not press your beliefs on others. Plain and simple misconduct and if she worked for my company i would have done the same. Whether it be Islam, Christianity or Jewdaism there is no place for it at work or in schools! Do your job and go home end of!”

Yet nothing in the report suggested there was any unreasonable pressing of views.

And if the views were pressed – well, was the Muslim woman incapable of indicating her disinclination to take part in the prayers or to take the book that was offered or to go the the church event?

Another comment said:

“The trust won’t have made a unjust decision as they would be fully aware they could be sued by this lady.”

Don’t be so sure.

Here’s what happened in May last year:

Three British Christians who argued that their beliefs saw them wrongly disciplined by their employers for actions such as refusing to counsel same-sex couples have lost their legal battle at the European court of human rights.

Shirley Chaplin, Gary McFarlane and Lillian Ladele had their appeals to the Strasbourg court rejected in January as part of the same ruling as that in which Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in attendant, won her fight against being banned from wearing a cross at work.

The three sought to resolve the matter in the court’s grand chamber, its final arbiter. However, judges at the court have rejected the request, in effect ending the legal battle.

Chaplin, 57 at the time, was a geriatrics nurse from Exeter.

She was moved to an administrative job after she refused to take off a crucifix around her neck.

Her case was rejected in January on the grounds that such an instruction was necessary for hygiene and the safety of patients and staff.

Bollocks.

What was she going to do to endanger patients?

Plunge the bloody crucifix into their hearts?

Ladele, a local authority registrar, was disciplined by Islington council in London for refusing to conduct civil partnership ceremonies, while McFarlane, a Bristol relationship counsellor, was dismissed by the charity Relate for saying he might object to assisting same-sex couples.

The court had ruled that both employers’ actions were justified, given their obligations to prevent discrimination against people using their services.

So it has become compulsory in Britain for public servants to do what their bosses demand they do, not what their consciences or religious beliefs tell them to do.

But there were cheers all round at the National Secular Society.

The group’s executive director, Keith Porteous Wood, said: “Fortunately, Europe’s highest court has now wisely followed numerous lower courts and rejected the applicants’ attempts for religious conscience to trump equality law.”

And:

“We hope that this will now draw a line under the attempts by a small coterie of Christian activists to obtain special privileges for themselves which would invariably come at the expense of other people’s rights.”

It’s got to be a sad, sad country when the exercise of one’s conscience is outlawed and attempting to exercise it is regarded as an attempt to exercise a special privilege.

In this county, our indigenous persons should be among those who pray we don’t adopt this unforgiving European interpretation of human rights laws.

Britain’s National Secular Society probably is interested only in religious discrimination, of course – but if it were to broaden its horizons, what would it make of our coterie of Maori activists who increasingly press for special privileges for themselves, invariably at the expense of other people’s rights?

Mind you, our indigenous persons can always fall back on the Treaty of Waitangi and have their cases heard by the Waitangi Tribunal, pleading that they are special. They rest of us went along with that rationale for discriminatory arrangements some time ago.

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