Commentators at three of Britain’s biggest newspapers have criticised the treatment of a Christian employee who was disciplined over comments he made about civil partnerships.
Ally Fogg, writing on The Guardian’s website, said that Trafford Housing Trust “couldn’t have got things more badly wrong”.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph Cristina Odone warned that “secular individualists” were trying to push believers out of the public sphere.
And a Mail on Sunday comment piece accused the Trust of “despotic behavior”.
On Sunday it emerged that Adrian Smith had been demoted and had his salary slashed by 40 per cent because he commented online that registering civil partnerships in churches was “an equality too far”.
And reflecting on the case on The Guardian’s website Ally Fogg criticised the treatment which Mr Smith had received for expressing “some relatively mild views”.
He said: “If the trust was concerned about its reputation for inclusiveness and tolerance, it couldn’t have got things more badly wrong.”
Commenting on the case Cristina Odone said: “Nonconformists more than 400 years ago found that they could not express their beliefs in a country where the established Church brooked no argument.
“Today, the Establishment is made up of secular individualists ready to run nonconformists out of the public space, if not yet out of the country.
“Expressions of faith, such as wearing a crucifix, get you into trouble. Christian practices are forbidden or discouraged by some of our best-known institutions — the NHS, BA, the BBC.
“As Mr Smith’s case shows, a dissenting point of view can ruin your professional life even when it is expressed in private.
She continued: “The nonconformists who sailed on the Mayflower were a tiny minority; but Christians in today’s Britain are the majority. Stop pushing us around.”
And a comment piece in The Mail on Sunday said: “The sinister process by which he has been denounced and then impoverished is deeply disturbing. His beliefs have nothing to do with his performance of his duties.
It continued: “If the Trust’s high-handed and despotic behaviour goes unchallenged, all of us will be significantly less free.”