Don’t mention it!
A homelessness prevention officer with Wandsworth Council has been suspended from work for nearly two months for encouraging a homeless woman with an incurable medical condition to look to God for help.
Duke Amachree, who has worked for the local authority for almost 18 years, was suspended in January for discussing his faith with a client. He was told in an investigatory interview in March that he should not raise the issue of religion at work, that it was inappropriate to ‘ever talk about God’ and that he may not even say ‘God bless’.
Mr Amachree, a member of the UK World Evangelism Church in London, was summoned to an interview as a result of a complaint made against him by a member of the public.
Michael Phillips, a solicitor working with the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), said: ‘On 26 January, Mr Amachree met a client who was due to be moved out of her home because her landlord wished to sell the property. Doctors had told the client that she had an incurable illness.
‘In encouragement, he commented that sometimes doctors do not have all the answers. So concerned was he, that he suggested she put her faith in God. The lady, however, explained that she had tried religion and because she did not have any faith, she was satisfied with what the doctors had told her and was able to move on. She smiled, thanked Mr Amachree and left’.
Two days later, Mr Amachree was handed a letter informing him that a service user (the lady) had made serious allegations against him and he was therefore suspended.
Mr Amachree is taking legal action against the council. His claim is that their decision effectively ‘privatises’ Christian faith and is against his human rights. His case comes after a number of public sector workers have seen their employers forcing secularist views on them.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, Director of the CLC, said, ‘We support Mr Amachree in this case because it is absurd to think that any public body could be in a position to enforce a policy that means that you can’t even say “God bless”. This would effectively mean that faith would become entirely privatised. A Christian cannot leave faith out of any aspect of his or her life, including work’.