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News – No more ‘God bless you’

September 2009

No more ‘God bless you’

 

The homelessness prevention officer suspended for talking about God with a homeless woman has now been sacked by Wandsworth Council.

     Homelessness Prevention Officer Duke Amachree, who had worked for the London authority for 18 years, was formally dismissed, having been told that in his job he might not even say ‘God bless you’, as this was bringing religion into the work environment.

     Christian advocacy group, the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), had been working with Amachree since he was first suspended in January.

     The CLC had claimed that Mr Amachree had acted out of genuine concern for the woman, whose incurable condition had brought her to despair, especially as she was facing eviction from her home. By suggesting that she might put her trust in God, Mr Amachree was accused of crossing boundaries.

     The CLC is supporting him in bringing Wandsworth Council to an employment tribunal, claiming that the council’s decision ‘privatises’ faith and breaches human rights law. CLC has instructed leading human rights barrister, Paul Diamond, to take up the case.

     Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of the CLC, said: ‘It is absurd and unjust to think that any public body could be in a position to enforce a policy which means that you can’t even say “God bless”. A Christian cannot leave faith out of any aspect of his or her life including work’.

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