A prominent British homosexual activist says it’s possible for a Christian to hold the view that homosexuality is wrong yet not discriminate against a gay person.
Peter Tatchell was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 about an ongoing case of a student studying social work who was expelled because he did not support homosexuality.
He went to court and, after three years, won his battle with the school.
Here are Tatchell’s comments:
Tatchell said free speech is “one of the most important and precious of all human rights, so there has to be a really strong and compelling reason in order to restrict it.”
He addressed the case of student Felix Ngole and the University of Sheffield.
“In this case, the university essentially said that because Felix Ngole holds a particular point of view, and this point of view might lead to him to discriminate when he became a social worker, that the dismissal was fair and just,” he said. “Now I think that really it is a bit excessive to say that someone should be dismissed from a course on the basis of something they might subsequently do.”
He said it would be “dangerous” to go down that path.
“I think it is perfectly possible that a person can hold a deep religious view that homosexuality is wrong, such as my own mother, but she would never ever discriminate against a gay person. I know that from experience,” he said.
“And it is quite possible that Mr. Ngole is such a Christian, that he holds a view that homosexuality is wrong but he would not discriminate, and I think in a free society, we have to make that distinction.”
WND reported last week the Court of Appeal in the United Kingdom issued a landmark victory for Ngole
The university had learned of his social-media posts through an anonymous complaint.
The new court ruling reversing the punishment is a “statement of the law likely to be relied upon in hundreds of cases,” according to the U.K. activist group Christian Concern.
The decision affirmed the rights of British Christians “to freely express their faith,” the group said.
Ngole was expelled in 2016 from his social-work studies at the University of Sheffield after quoting Bible verses on Facebook that were deemed critical of homosexuality, the organization said.
The year before, Ngole engaged in a discussion on Facebook about Kim Davis, the Kentucky registrar jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
During that debate he quoted Bible verses regarding marriage and the sin of homosexual activity.
The anonymous complaint to the school, apparently from a fellow student, came months later. Sheffield officials held a “Fitness to Practice” hearing because of his social-work studies and he was thrown out.
Andrea Williams of the U.K.’s Christian Legal Centre called it a “watershed case for Christians and a resounding victory for freedom of speech.”
“We are delighted that the Court of Appeal has seen the importance of this case and made a ruling that accords with common sense. It is shocking that the university sought to censor expression of the Bible in this way, and we hope this sends out a message of freedom across all universities and professions that Christians and others should be allowed to express their views without fear of censorship or discipline.”
Williams said the case now returns to the university which must review its actions in light of the new precedent.
Tatchell previously had publicly supported Ashers Baking Co. of Northern Ireland, which was embroiled in a dispute over its owners’ decision not to provide a cake to an event promoting homosexuality.
That decision was upheld by the U.K.’s highest court.
Tatchell had said, at the time, “In my view, it is an infringement of freedom to require businesses to aid the promotion of ideas to which they conscientiously object.”