Christian charity worker suspended for saying he did not believe in same-sex marriage
By Daily Mail Reporter
A charity worker was suspended after telling a colleague about his Christian beliefs against homosexuality, it has emerged today.
David Booker, 44, was chatting about his faith with co-worker Fiona Vardy during a late shift at the hostel in Southampton, Hants on March 26.
He told her he was opposed to same-sex marriages and to homosexual clergy but denied being homophobic and said that he had homosexual friends.
The worker was suspended from the Society of St James which helps homeless people
The next evening, Mr Booker was suspended from his £19,000-a-year post as a hostel support worker with Society of St James where he has worked for the last four years.
His employers told him the action was taken for 'events that happened last night'.
On March 30 he received a formal suspension notice which alleged that he 'seriously breached' the charity's code of conduct 'by promoting your religious views which contained discriminatory comments regarding a person's sexual orientation...
'The action has been taken to safeguard both residents and staff" at the Southampton Street hostel.
Mr Booker, 44, a born-again Christian from Southampton, turned to the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) which instructed human rights lawyer Paul Diamond to represent him.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and director of CLC, said: 'Mr Booker has been suspended since March 27 for two weeks pending investigation.
'No date has been set for the investigation and disciplinary hearing.
'This case shows that in today's politically correct, increasingly secularised society, even consenting reasonable discussion on religion between two employees is being twisted by employers to discriminate and silence the Christian voice and freedom of expression.'
He said the charity English Churches House Group, which was recently taken over by Society of St James, was largely funded by churches throughout Hampshire whose followers would be 'shocked at the attitude and action taken by a Christian organisation towards a Christian employee'.
He added: 'The Archbishop of Canterbury, as patron, has confirmed the Church's teaching on marriage, same-sex relationships and homosexuality and that is in the public domain.
'We are interested to know whether his patronage is now under threat under the charity's Culture and Diversity Code of Conduct.'
Air Force Colonel Cleared of Promoting Religion
Stars and Stripes
by Steve Mraz
An Air Force colonel has been cleared in an investigation into whether an e-mail she sent to her airmen violated the military’s stance of religious neutrality.Col. Kimberly Toney, commander of the 501st Combat Support Wing at RAF Alconbury, sent an e-mail on Jan. 16 referring airmen to an "inspirational" video on a Roman Catholic Web site. The video featured the life of Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs. In the video, Vujicic says he finds his "greatest joy in this life is to introduce Jesus to those he meets and tell them of his (Jesus’) great desire to get to know them personally by allowing him to become their Lord and Savior.""After a thorough consideration of the facts, the Third Air Force has concluded Colonel Toney acted inadvertently and unintentionally and did not willfully violate Air Force policy or (Equal Employment Opportunity) guidelines," said Lt. Col. Dave Honchul, 3rd Air Force’s director of public affairs.The investigation, officially referred to as an "equal opportunity treatment incident clarification," was initiated in mid-March.
The report was closed on Monday.Lt. Gen. Philip Breedlove, Third Air Force commander, agreed with the findings of the EOTI, has taken appropriate action and considers the case closed, Honchul said. When asked what appropriate action was taken, Honchul did not offer specifics, citing privacy concerns.As first reported by online news magazine The Public Record, some Air Force personnel who watched the video said they believed it violated the military’s ban on endorsing particular religious views. Some said they were more bothered by other things on the Catholic Web site, 4marks.com, such as an image illustrating President Barack Obama’s support for abortion rights by showing the president in a Nazi uniform and waving a flag with a swastika on it.Mikey Weinstein, head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said the incident represented a "textbook case" of improper religious influence, according to a New York Times story.Throughout the incident, no formal or informal complaints were filed by airmen or civilians, Honchul said.
Stars & Stripes Website
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