Thursday, 10 March 2016
‘My views on gay marriage shouldn’t stop me from being a social worker’ - Felix Ngole
Felix Ngole is appealing a university’s decision to expel him from his social work degree after he posted anti-gay marriage views on Facebook.
A university conduct panel found Ngole’s actions would affect his ability to carry out his role as a social worker. The case has sparked fierce debate over whether the university’s decision was draconian or correct. Here, Ngole sets out his side of the story.
I came to this country because of the opportunities I thought it offered. Britain once led the world in freedom and justice and is iconic in my homeland of Cameroon. So many of us in Cameroon aspire to the kind of possibilities that we believe only Britain can give us. We think of it as a nation that protects freedom of speech, religion and our ability to be who we want to be.
It therefore came as quite a shock to find myself expelled from a social work course at a prestigious Russell Group University just because I stood up for someone’s right to exercise freedom of conscience at work.
The case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky Clerk who felt herself unable to issue marriage licences to same sex couples found herself in jail for contempt of court, was all over the media. There was a lot of discussion about the case on and off the university campus.
I entered into the discussion on my personal Facebook account. I wanted to defend her; because she, like me and millions of others across the globe believe that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.
Motivated to serve
Studying for a master’s degree in social work, you’re constantly reminded of the importance of fairness, of treating everyone equally and of not discriminating against anyone. I chose the course because I come from a nation where I have witnessed poverty and hardship. I have been given a chance in this nation; I have a personal and vibrant faith in Jesus Christ and am motivated to serve people in my community and in my work and to give back to this country.
Just because I disagree with a homosexual lifestyle, it doesn’t mean to say that I won’t act in a professional, kind and compassionate way when dealing with homosexuals. We all disagree on many, many issues; governments rise and fall off the back of that process via the ballot box. If my freedom to express my opinion is removed on this matter, then why not on any and all other matters where the present government disagrees?
The University of Sheffield didn’t seem to want to give me a chance. If you hold that kind of opinion they seemed to say ‘you’re not fit to be a social worker’.
They couldn’t see beyond that; they couldn’t see the irony of their own intolerance of my views. If this is the way the system operates then it means that people like me and followers of Christ everywhere will be ‘barred from professions’; deemed ‘not fit for practise’.
What a shame when I believe I have so much to offer; a heart and a willingness to get on with the job, people and to facilitate the existing laws. The new political orthodoxy coerces and compels a ‘way to think and a way to speak’ – if you disagree you’re left out in the cold.
I’m just me. What frightens me is that I’m perhaps just one of many. I’m the one who found the Christian Legal Centre and they encouraged me to fight my case. I was all for just letting it go and quitting my dream. I realise that would have been a mistake. How many have just let their dreams go because of the new cultural Marxism that censors and punishes any view that does not accord with the new orthodoxy of the law and state.
So I am now taking my case forward for students just like me everywhere; for social workers, teachers, nurses who love and are motivated by the love of Jesus to continue to be free to work in this nation that I love, Great Britain.