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Free speech victory for Christian social worker student

August 2019 | by Mike Judge

A Christian has won his appeal at court, after he was thrown off his university course for posting on Facebook that homosexuality is a sin.

Felix Ngole, aged 39, was removed from a postgraduate social work course at the University of Sheffield in 2016 after posting the online comment.

Judges overturned a previous court ruling and said the university should reconsider Mr Ngole’s case. The university is considering its response.

Mr Ngole was supported by the Christian Legal Center. He said he was simply expressing a traditional Christian view that ‘the Bible and God identify homosexuality as a sin’.

But university authorities said he was taking a ‘professionally qualifying degree’ with the aim of becoming a social worker and argued what he had said would affect gay people he might work with.

Mr Ngole lost an earlier court case at the High Court in 2017, but now judges at the Court of Appeal have overturned that ruling.

In deciding the case in his favour, the judges ruled that ‘the disciplinary proceedings were flawed and unfair’.

Mr Ngole said: ‘As Christians we are called to serve others and to care for everyone, yet publicly and privately we must also be free to express our beliefs and what the bible says without fear of losing our livelihoods’.

A university spokesperson said it supported the rights of students to ‘hold and debate a wide range of views and beliefs’.

‘However, for students studying on courses that lead to professional registration, we have a responsibility to look at how any concerns raised could impact a student’s fitness to practise once registered’.

But Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Centre said: ‘This judgment means that we are free to speak, free to express Christian views, to advocate for those views at university, in the classroom and at work’.

Mike Judge, editor