Jennie Cain, the Christian mother of a five-year-old girl reprimanded at school for talking about Jesus, has received the backing of the Archbishop of York.
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Mrs Cain, who works as a receptionist at her daughter’s school, is facing an investigation for misconduct after asking friends to pray about the situation in a private email.
Her case was raised in the House of Commons yesterday by an MP referring to the “systematic and institutional discrimination towards Christians”.
And Archbishop John Sentamu has expressed his support in an article for a national newspaper.
The Archbishop said Mrs Cain’s case and that of Christian nurse Caroline Petrie represent a “seeming intolerance and illiberality about faith in God which is being reflected in the higher echelons of our public services”.
He said: “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.
“For me, my trust in God is part of my DNA; it is central to who I am and defines my place in the world. It informs my whole life, not just a weekly service on a Sunday.
“It is the failure to grasp this basic understanding of what it is to be a follower of Jesus Christ that lies at the heart of the problem of which these two cases are just symptoms.”
He added: “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, the nominal religion of the white majority; and ‘equality’ seemingly excludes anyone, black or white, with a Christian belief in God.”
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, shadow communities minister Stewart Jackson called for a debate on the “systematic and institutional discrimination towards Christians”.
He said: “We saw last week the case of Mrs Petrie who was suspended by North Somerset Primary Care Trust and only reinstated after a media furore.
“This week, anti-Christian zealots in Devon are on the verge of suspending a lady who works in a school for defending her Christian beliefs and those of her daughter.
“Does fairness and equality only apply to people who are non-Christians in this country?”
Commons leader and equalities minister Harriet Harman said fairness and equality apply to everyone.
“I suggest that the hon. Gentleman seek a Westminster Hall debate on the issues he raises.” she said.