Yesterday's newspapers in Britain were matter-of-fact about Olive Jones, 54, a teacher who is claiming 'religious persecution' because she tried discussing her Christian faith with a 9-year old sick child and got sacked for this sin. It was the child's mother who complained about the teacher's attampts at testimony about miracles and her offer of a prayer.
Nigel Bunyan of the Daily Telegraph wrote that Mrs. Jones was told that "the family had strongly objected to her approach because they are non-believers, and that a formal complaint had been lodged about her."
Because Mrs Jones worked only 12 hours a week, she had no formal contract, so her job with the North Somerset Tuition Service in Nailsea, near Bristol, was terminated at once.
Mrs. Jones "said she was made to feel 'like a criminal' and claims that Christians are being persecuted in the name of political correctness ”. She said that "she lost her job after making her sixth visit to the GCSE Maths student."
Mrs Jones: “I told the girl and her mother that there were people praying for them, and I asked the child if I could pray for her, but the mother said they come from a family who do not believe so I did not pray.”
Mrs Jones was summoned to a meeting with her employers. “You could feel the tension in the air,” she said. “I was so frightened I could hardly breathe. I had never experienced anything like this. I had a faultless record stretching back 20 years and yet was left a total wreck.”
She was told the mother and daughter were distressed by her testimony about miracles and her offer of saying a prayer. As a result they no longer wanted her as a tutor in their home. “Obviously if I had known she was upset when I had first mentioned my testimony I would never have brought it up again. But I had no idea.
“I don't push my beliefs down other people's throats, and I apologise for any unintentional distress I may have caused. I was told I had been an exemplary maths teacher, but my services were no longer required. As I had no contract, they could tell me to go just like that. They also told me that had I been on a contract, I could be facing disciplinary proceedings. But they never told me the grounds for that.”
Mrs Jones, whose husband, Peter, is head of mathematics at a local state secondary school, insisted she felt no anger towards her employers because "they are trying to interpret new equality and diversity policies."
She continued: "But I am angry with the politically-correct system and about the fact that you can't mention anything to do with faith to people who might find it of use. It is as if my freedom of speech is being restricted. I feel I am being persecuted for speaking about my faith in a country that is supposed to be Christian."
This case mirrors that of community nurse Caroline Petrie, who was suspended in December 2008 for offering to pray at the bedside of a living near one another in Somerset. Mrs Petrie said: "This is a total shock. She is an amazing maths teacher so it really is their loss."
Andrea Williams, a lawyer and director of the Christian Legal Centre, said: "Whatever you think of the facts, the reaction is totally disproportionate. Mrs Jones was a supply teacher for almost five years so we are looking at what legal remedy we have to seek a reinstatement or damages for loss of income. This is clear discrimination on the grounds of faith."
And about time too I would say. Atheists have been disciminated against for the last 2000 years despite being on the side of rationality and truth while the miracle-believing Christians are on the side of the fairy stories. Trying to teach religious untruths should be recognised in the courts as a criminal activity.