A teacher has become the latest Christian to be punished by bosses for expressing his religious beliefs at work.
Kwabena Peat, 54, has been suspended after he complained that a staff training day was used to promote gay rights and marginalise those who disagreed with homosexual practice. The case follows a number of others which have left Christians feeling sidelined in the workplace. Know your rights: Religious liberty in the workplace
Mr Peat, who is head of year at a North London secondary school, walked out of the compulsory training session along with several other Christian colleagues. The session included a presentation by Sue Sanders, a co-founder of the Schools Out organisation which promotes a homosexual agenda in schools, in which she questioned whether heterosexuality was “natural”.
According to Mr Peat there was no opportunity for those with a different point of view to respond. He wrote to three staff who organised the event and complained about the “aggressive” presentation of gay rights. His letter also referred to his religious beliefs about homosexuality.
The recipients of the letter said they felt “harassed and intimidated” by it. Following an investigation, Mr Peat was suspended on full pay. Mr Peat said he had expected the training session merely to provide information to help teachers handle homophobic bullying, but the guest speaker had gone much further.
He said: “She started promoting homosexual lifestyles and suggesting those who had objections should sort out their prejudices. “She said, ‘What makes you all think that to be heterosexual is natural?’ It was at that point I walked out.”
Mr Peat is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre. Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and director of the Christian Legal Centre said: “Mr Peat is being discriminated against for expressing his Christian faith. “A legitimate orthodox Christian view as expressed by Mr Peat, however disagreeable others may find it, should not be construed as harassment or discrimination.
“If this is allowed to continue it will be state censorship leading to the infringement of a person’s right to freedom of religion and speech.” In a statement, headteacher Alex Atherton said: “An allegation of intimidation and harassment is currently being investigated.” Sue Sanders said her training sessions were designed to “raise awareness”.