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Christian Concern
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Christian Concern
World News

Pastor begins legal action after LGBTQ tweet leads to job loss

by Heather Preston

A pastor and school caretaker, who lost his job for discouraging Christians from attending LGBTQ events is to have his legal case heard.

Pastor Keith Waters has launched legal action against the Active Learning Trust after a tweet he posted about believers not supporting pride events led him to be unemployed.

Waters took a part time position at the Isle of Ely Primary School, Cambridgeshire so he could pastor his local Evangelical Church, Ely New Connexions Church.

According to Christian Concern, the job was taken with the agreement that if there was a conflict with his role as a pastor, his pastoral duties would take priority, and that he would "be unequivocal in publicly stating the Christian doctrine on various issues, some of which may be unpopular."

In 2019 Waters posted the following tweet in response to an upcoming month of LGBTQ pride events:

"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," he wrote.

Following his post, Waters claims he received a stream of threats intended to force him out of his job as a caretaker as various commentators accused him of attacking the local LGBTQ community.

His controversial tweet led to online and in person abuse, pressure from local councillors and a wave of media attention.

Intimidation continued as Waters' family was later visited by funeral directors sent to 'plan his funeral' as well as estate agents who had been informed they wished to move from the area. 

An investigation was also launched against him by Ely Primary for bringing the school 'into disrepute', following a number of complaints from parents accusing him of 'extremism' and 'violence' towards Pride supporters.

The internal investigation concluded that Waters' tweet was 'highly inappropriate and offensive'. He was told he had brought the school into disrepute, broken the code of conduct and was issued with a final written warning. 

Believing his roles of pastor and caretaker were now in direct conflict, Waters resigned from his janitor position.

His lawyers will argue the Isle of Ely primary school interfered with his rights to freedom of religion, expression and thought.

Waters claims he was shunned and avoided by senior management and prevented from carrying out some of his regular duties.

"In 37 years of employment, I had never been treated in such an uncaring and hostile way. I was left with the choice of resigning or being silenced and unable to express my beliefs as a Christian pastor," he said ahead of the hearing.

"Being given a final warning meant that I would not be able to do the things I do as a pastor, which is standing up for the truth of the Bible."

Waters will claim for constructive dismissal, indirect discrimination, and breach of public sector equality duty.

Andrea Williams, chief executive at Christian Concern says Waters has received "character assassination" for his Christian beliefs.

"We live in a world where even questioning the LGBTQ agenda can land you in serious trouble.

"Why should a Christian pastor not be able to speak out on such concerning issues without being threatened and losing his job?

"Keith's story is part of a cancel culture where issues, such as LGBTQ pride, cannot be questioned or critiqued without individuals being silenced, vilified or worse."

A spokesman for the Active Learning Trust, which runs the school, said "The 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."

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