My latest “culture war” posting is regarding a Christian social worker, Felix Ngole, who appears to have fallen foul of the all too powerful politically correct brigade. Somewhat related, it is likely that speculating on the popular appeal of Donald Trump to US Evangelical voters is one subject that has recently been flogged to death, with many people weighing in with their opinions (including me in recent blogs, click here and here). When recently discussing the Trump phenomenon with an American friend, putting forward the notion many of his Christian supporters do so because they are fed up with Christianity being marginalized in the culture, she expressed a measure of dissent since the Christian influence in America is still strong and “In God we trust” is still its proud motto, while still recognising there were aspects of American life that needed protecting that drew people to Trump over other candidates.
Quite recently, a story broke in the UK of “a Christian social worker expelled from social work course over his views on marriage”. He had been arguing the case, notably via social media, that was once the de facto norm, that marriage is something only between one man and one woman. The statement justifying the university’s decision was “Mr Ngole 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”. As I said at the time, I was reluctant to comment without knowing all the facts, but was very concerned even so.
Going back to the Trump popularity, the equivalent of the Ngole case are all too common (in the US as well as the UK) and it seems a travesty, not just to the individuals that suffer but to people at large, who are untowardly affected because these decisions are being made. The feeling some have is this matters a lot and Trump may be the one to stem the tide. It was interesting to read the blog posting: “Felix Ngole: ‘I am perhaps one of many’” for the perspective it provided. “Felix Ngole has commented on his case, describing his shock at being expelled from university for defending his biblical faith. In his comment piece below, he raises concerns about the way views are being increasingly censored, and the impact this can have on individuals’ lives: I came to this country because of the opportunities I thought this great nation offers. This country once led the world in freedom and justice and is iconic in my homeland of Cameroon. So many of us in Cameroon aspire to the kind of possibilities that we believe only Britain can give us. We think of it as a nation that protects freedom of speech, religion and our ability to be who we want to be. It, therefore, came as quite a shock to find myself expelled from a prestigious Russell Group University just because I had stood up for someone’s right to exercise freedom of conscience at work. The case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky Clerk who felt herself unable to issue marriage licences to same sex couples found herself in jail for contempt of court, was all over the media. There was a lot of discussion about the case on and off the university campus. I entered into the discussion on my personal Facebook account. I wanted to defend her; because she, like me and millions of others across the globe believe that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman”.
He concludes: “What a shame when I believe I have so much to offer; a heart and a willingness to get on with the job, people and to facilitate the existing laws. The new political orthodoxy coerces and compels a ‘way to think and a way to speak’ – if you disagree you’re left out in the cold. I’m just me. What frightens me is that I’m perhaps just one of many. I’m the one who found the Christian Legal Centre and they encouraged me to fight my case. I was all for just letting it go and quitting my dream. I realise that would have been a mistake. How many have just let their dreams go because of the new cultural marxism that censors and punishes any view that does not accord with the new orthodoxy of the law and state. So I am now taking my case forward for students just like me everywhere; for social workers, teachers, nurses who love and are motivated by the love of Jesus to continue to be free to work in this nation that I love, Great Britain.” Regarding what happened in America, this is another case that I find worrying although I would like to understand the other side before coming to a definitive view. I can well understand the complaint of some gay folk that the lady that was jailed for contempt of court had failed to do her job and may have discriminated against gay couples if as is likely she issued licences to divorced couples that re-married, for who is to say that this is any more right than for gay couples.
The rights and wrongs of divorce and re-marriage and same sex marriage is not the point of this blog. What is the point is it seems that if you do not go along with the opinions of the powers that be and put aside your conscience on such matters you are likely to find yourself in deep water (e.g. losing a career in the UK case and going to jail in the US case). Unlike those who have had to suffer these things, I can speak out because I have nothing to lose. And speak out I will. I would rather focus on helping those on the bottom of the heap of our society, as I have these last 24 hours in my managing of a homeless night shelter, than have to expend energy fighting battles I would rather not have to fight. I can’t help feeling that people like Felix Ngole are the sort of people we need to help address some the social ills that are so prevalent in our society and we as a society are the poorer when they are cast on the proverbial scrap heap.