A judge in the UK has ruled in favour of a Christian pastor who was forced out of his job as a school caretaker over a tweet warning Christians and children not to attend an upcoming LGBTQ pride event.
Employment Judge King said that Pastor Keith Waters had been discriminated against when he was hounded out of his part-time caretaker role at Ely primary school in 2019 after a local journalist jumped on the tweet, accusing the pastor of attacking the LGBTQ community.
Soon after the tweet appeared on the front page of the Cambridge Evening News, which resulted in the school receiving several complaints against the pastor, before issuing Mr Waters a final warning for breaking the code of conduct.
The media firestorm also led to the pastor being harassed at this church in Ely and receiving death threats at his home.
The ‘controversial tweet’ read: “A reminder that Christians should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Christian faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.”
At the time, Mr Waters told Christian Concern: “You don’t have to look very far to Google Pride events and you will come up with photographs of people who are naked. People who are engaged in sexual acts. The whole thrust of the tweet was about keeping children safe and protected, but instead, I was accused of being a child molester.”
Mr Waters said he had no choice but to resign after the school had made it clear they no longer wanted him on staff.
Legal action against the school was launched through the support of the Christian Legal Centre, with Mr Waters’ lawyer arguing that the school had interfered with the pastor’s rights to freedom of religion, thought, and expression.
Last week the employment tribunal ruled in favour of Pastor Waters’ freedom to express his biblical beliefs on human identity and sexual morality on social media.
A media release from the Christian Legal Centre notes: “The ruling finds that Christian pastors that have employment alongside their church ministries are free to express their biblical faith online without fear of losing other jobs.”
Judge King said: “The fact that the claimant made the tweet outside of work on his personal account as part of his role as a Christian Minister is highly relevant. It is one thing to have rules that apply during work and something else to extend those to one’s private life outside of work.”
Pastor Waters said he’s relieved by the ruling, describing it as a victory for Christian evangelical leaders across the country.
“I pray that this ruling will help protect Pastors in the future that have to work part-time in other jobs to make up their income,” he said. “This is an important win for our freedom to speak the truth of the gospel without fear or losing our jobs.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre said: “Our schools and churches need more community-minded people like him, not less. For sending one tweet, that raised genuine concern for children, he was vilified, threatened, and hounded out of his employment.”
She added: “What happened to Keith Waters is the latest in a long line of cases where honest, kind, normal people are subjected to harassment and intimidation for expressing moderate, mainstream Christian views on sexual ethics.”