UK: Sacked nursery worker denies saying homosexuality ‘is a sin’

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A Christian nursery worker, who was fired after giving a Bible to a lesbian colleague and refused to read books about same-sex couples to children, claims there is “state-sponsored hostility” to her religion.

Sarah Mbuyi was fired from a London chain of nurseries, Newpark Childcare, over claims of “harassment” of the colleague and “gross misconduct”.

In December 2013, the co-worker was hospitalised following an accident at work, and Ms Mbuyi gave her a “gift” of a Bible.

Ms Myubi claims the gift was well received and a result of “interest” the co-worker had shown in her faith, but the following month, during a discussion with the co-worker about sexuality, Ms Myubi said: “If I tell you that God is OK with that I am lying to you”.

At a disciplinary meeting held over the harassment claims, she was warned about her behaviour.

Her employers asked her how she would feel if she had to read stories featuring same-sex couples to the children, and Ms Myubi said she would refuse to do so.

The London Evening Standard reports in a statement yesterday to an employment tribunal in Watford, Ms Mbuyi, a Belgium national, said she enjoyed living in the UK after but added: “However, the clear (it feels, state-sponsored) hostility to Christian values means that the UK is considerably worse than many other EU member states in relation to freedom of religion.

“There is a feeling in the UK that Christianity does not need to be respected and can be disparaged. With other faiths there is extreme sensitivity from employers. This attitude of disrespect is very strange; this would not occur in Belgium and I cannot understand why the UK displays such Christian animus.”

She added: “As a Christian I try to be kind and considerate; I am conscious of the need to act in a manner appropriate to my faith. As a citizen I have as many rights to discuss my faith as any other subject, such as politics or sexuality.”

Her case is being pursued by the Christian Legal Centre.

Under cross examination at the tribunal Ms Mbuyi denied commenting on her colleague’s sexuality without being asked.

The nursery’s barrister, Deshpal Panesar, said: “You volunteered that her sexual orientation was a sin, didn’t you?”

Ms Mbuyi replied: “No, that is wrong. I said that I can’t tell you that God is ok with that. But I also said that he can’t hate you because of it, because he doesn’t.”

Mr Panesar then asked: “You felt the need to confront her because of her sin?”

She replied: “No, she chose to confront me.”

The tribunal, which is due to last until Thursday, continues.

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