New vetting rules could be wielded against Christians

There are fears that new background checks could be used to make life difficult for Christians who work with children.

A new vetting system to be introduced next year will go beyond the current checks for criminal convictions to probe a person’s personal beliefs and lifestyle.

Any anonymous claims made by the public or in newspaper articles could also be used against someone applying to work with vulnerable people or children.

Concerns have been raised that Christians could become the targets of smear campaigns aimed at causing them to fall foul of the new rules.

The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge told The Daily Telegraph: “If people have an axe to grind with Christianity or Christians they could make malicious allegations against them.

“A lot of traditional Christian views are being regarded as beyond the pale.

“It’s not beyond the stretch of imagination that because they have a particular view about sexual activity they will be deemed not suitable to work with children.

“In an atmosphere where a nurse can be suspended for offering to pray for someone, I’m very concerned that this new approach is going to consider religious belief.”

The new scheme, from the Independent Safeguarding Authority, applies to voluntary as well as paid roles and will be introduced next summer.

It will cover school governors and caretakers, dentists, nurses, and even authors who want to visit schools and parents who organise lifts to sports matches.

Unproven allegations such as “stories in the press” and “information” passed on by employers, professional bodies or members of the public can all be taken into account.

A case worker can consider a ban on the basis that it is “more likely than not” that an alleged incident took place.

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