Christians should not leave their beliefs behind when they go to work, says the Archbishop of York.
In a speech on Tuesday Dr John Sentamu said:”There needn’t be a separation between what goes on in church and in our prayers – and what goes on in the office or in the boardroom or on the shop floor.”
Dr Sentamu told an audience at Holy Trinity Brompton church in London that Christians should be a “force for good” in the world of business.
He told the meeting: “There is no more urgent time than now to break down the compartmentalised thinking that separates trust in God from the world of work.”
His comments come in the wake of a number of recent cases where Christians have faced problems at work over their beliefs.
School receptionist Jennie Cain is facing an investigation for misconduct after a prayer email fell into the hands of the headmaster at the school. She had asked friends to pray after her five-year-old daughter was told off by a teacher for talking about Jesus with another pupil.
Christian nurse Caroline Petrie was suspended after she offered to pray for a patient. Her employers said she had shown a lack of commitment to the promotion of ‘equality and diversity’ required by nursing guidelines. Mrs Petrie has now been reinstated.
However, there are fears that teachers could face similar problems as new draft teaching guidelines have included the same ‘equality and diversity’ wording.
Last week, the Archbishop of York wrote an article for the Daily Mail defending the right of Christians like Mrs Petrie and Mrs Cain to express their faith at work.
He wrote: “Asking someone to leave their belief in God at the door of their workplace is akin to asking them to remove their skin colour before coming into the office. Faith in God is not an add-on or optional extra.”
He continued: “Those who display intolerance and ignorance, and would relegate the Christian faith to just another disposable lifestyle choice, argue that they operate in pursuit of policies based on the twin aims of ‘diversity and equality’.
“Yet, in the minds of those charged with implementing such policies, ‘diversity’ apparently means every colour and creed except Christianity”.