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Pastor who left school over Pride tweet says he hopes other Christians don't stay quiet

by Cara Bentley

Keith Waters, the leader at New Connexions Church in Ely, wrote in the summer on Twitter: "A reminder that Christians should not support or attend LGBTQ 'Pride Month' events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Christian faith and morals. They are especially harmful to children."

His post led to local journalists criticising him for insulting the LGBT community and to several experiences of harrasment and threats that led to him giving up his job in a primary school as a caretaker.

His wife answered the door to a funeral director who asked what she would like done with his body and the school initiated a disciplinary hearing after complaints from parents.

The pastor told Premier: "I left my role at the school because I found that, going through a disciplinary procedure, I had the usual investigation, which was certainly quite fierce and was rather more of an interrogation.

"In the letter of the disciplinary hearing I was told that it was going to be a case of a final written warning or dismissal.

"Neither of those outcomes would work for me being in the school, certainly dismissal wouldn't but final written warning wouldn't either because it would mean that I would probably be dismissed the next day because I'm not going to stop talking about things which are important around Christianity and safety of children," he said, referring to the outfits worn at Pride. 

Mr Waters said that before the complaints he helped out in lessons and did pastoral work.

"I had an incredibly good relationship with the school, I was involved in all sorts of RE lessons, assemblies, counseling with staff...but it was really the local journalists and then pressure on the school from a parent group."

After starting the disciplinary process, Mr Waters decided to leave but has now launched a legal challenge against the school for unfair dismissal.

A spokesman for the Active Learning Trust said: "The Active Learning Trust and its schools value, appreciate and celebrate equality, multiculturalism and diversity in education.

"We were made aware of the social media posts from concerned parents in June 2019. These posts were investigated through the Trust's standard HR procedures.

"We'd like to emphasise that Keith Waters resigned from his position with the school. While legal proceedings are ongoing it would not be appropriate for the Trust to comment further at this stage."

When asked if he regrets the tweet, he said: "Oh goodness, no, I don't regret it...the tweet was really telling Christians, what Christians do know and should know, the reminder that the pride event that is, is not something which is good for children, certainly not good for adults and really not good for anybody."

He said that his church had been supportive and that he hopes the situation will work "for God's glory".

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