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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

University throws student off course after voicing Christian views on gay marriage

A Christian social work student has been expelled from his course after voicing his opposition to gay marriage on Facebook.

Felix Ngole, 38, was a second-year masters student at Sheffield University when he shared a Facebook post saying ‘I stand with Kim Davis’ – the American county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples.

He also commented on the link quoting a Bible verse from Leviticus calling homosexuality an “abomination” in September 2015.

Two months later he said he received an email from the university asking him to attend a meeting to discuss the posts, and the father of four was then referred to a fitness-to-practise committee, which decided he should be ejected from the course.

A letter revealing the committee’s decision later told him his actions had “transgressed boundaries which are not deemed appropriate for someone entering the social work profession” and ordered him to hand in his student card.

The committee said its decision was not based on his views but the act of publicly posting them “may have caused offence to some individuals”.
Mr Ngole said that his beliefs about marriage and sexual ethics reflect mainstream, biblical understanding, shared by millions around the world.
“Simply expressing that understanding, in a personal capacity, on my Facebook page, cannot be allowed to become a bar to serving and helping others in a professional capacity as a social worker.”

Mr Ngole is appealing against the decision, but if it is not overturned it may prevent him from becoming a social worker.

He believes the decision is an effective “bar to office for Christians” and that he may have suffered discrimination.

“I wonder whether the university would have taken any action if a Muslim student who believes in Sharia law, with its teaching about women and homosexuality, had made moderate comments on his Facebook page. I don’t think so.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Mr Ngole, said, “Sadly, this is yet another case of Christians being ‘neutered’ in the public arena, and of censorship of views.”