Yesterday's newspapers in Britain were matter-of-fact about Olive Jones, 54, a teacher who is claiming 'religious persecution' because she tried discussing her Christian faith with a 9-year old sick child and got sacked for this sin. It was the child's mother who complained about the teacher's attampts at testimony about miracles and her offer of a prayer.

Nigel Bunyan of the Daily Telegraph wrote that Mrs. Jones was told that "the family had strongly objected to her approach because they are non-believers, and that a formal complaint had been lodged about her."

Because Mrs Jones worked only 12 hours a week, she had no formal contract, so her job with the North Somerset Tuition Service in Nailsea, near Bristol, was terminated at once.

Mrs. Jones "said she was made to feel 'like a criminal' and claims that Christians are being persecuted in the name of political correctness ”. She said that "she lost her job after making her sixth visit to the GCSE Maths student."

Mrs Jones: “I told the girl and her mother that there were people praying for them, and I asked the child if I could pray for her, but the mother said they come from a family who do not believe so I did not pray.”

Mrs Jones was summoned to a meeting with her employers. “You could feel the tension in the air,” she said. “I was so frightened I could hardly breathe. I had never experienced anything like this. I had a faultless record stretching back 20 years and yet was left a total wreck.”

She was told the mother and daughter were distressed by her testimony about miracles and her offer of saying a prayer. As a result they no longer wanted her as a tutor in their home. “Obviously if I had known she was upset when I had first mentioned my testimony I would never have brought it up again. But I had no idea.

“I don't push my beliefs down other people's throats, and I apologise for any unintentional distress I may have caused. I was told I had been an exemplary maths teacher, but my services were no longer required. As I had no contract, they could tell me to go just like that. They also told me that had I been on a contract, I could be facing disciplinary proceedings. But they never told me the grounds for that.”

Mrs Jones, whose husband, Peter, is head of mathematics at a local state secondary school, insisted she felt no anger towards her employers because "they are trying to interpret new equality and diversity policies."

She continued: "But I am angry with the politically-correct system and about the fact that you can't mention anything to do with faith to people who might find it of use. It is as if my freedom of speech is being restricted. I feel I am being persecuted for speaking about my faith in a country that is supposed to be Christian."

This case mirrors that of community nurse Caroline Petrie, who was suspended in December 2008 for offering to pray at the bedside of a living near one another in Somerset. Mrs Petrie said: "This is a total shock. She is an amazing maths teacher so it really is their loss."

Andrea Williams, a lawyer and director of the Christian Legal Centre, said: "Whatever you think of the facts, the reaction is totally disproportionate. Mrs Jones was a supply teacher for almost five years so we are looking at what legal remedy we have to seek a reinstatement or damages for loss of income. This is clear discrimination on the grounds of faith."

And about time too I would say. Atheists have been disciminated against for the last 2000 years despite being on the side of rationality and truth while the miracle-believing Christians are on the side of the fairy stories. Trying to teach religious untruths should be recognised in the courts as a criminal activity.

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Replies to This Discussion

We don't know the whole story.
I find it amazing how the media can write and publish a story with only one side and not even talk to the opposing side (or at least fully publish it). It's more an editorial than an actual news story.
This particular reporter spoke to the pathetic christians in the case and not to the mother and child whose names we have not been given.
So, as Susan and Rudi imply, we have not been told any detail about what Mrs Olive Jones was up to----but the employers (North Somerset Tuition Service) evidently knew and did not like it.

Could this have happened in America?t
Here's more about the other side of the story, as reported by the London Daily Mail:

"A 14-year-old cancer patient was left 'traumatised' by a Christian teacher's offer to pray for her, the youngster's parents said today. Paddy and Stephanie Lynch, whose daughter is seriously ill with leukaemia, said Olive Jones' constant 'preaching' left their child deeply distressed.

Mrs Jones, 54, who was sacked for offering to pray for the girl, has claimed she was made to feel like a criminal and that Christians are being persecuted due to 'political correctness'.

But speaking for the first time today Mr and Mrs Lynch said they had repeatedly asked Mrs Jones to stop discussing Christianity with their daughter --- and were left with no option but to report her to the council.

Mrs Lynch, 43, who quit her job with the Higher Education Funding Council in April to care full-time for her daughter, said: 'Mrs Jones was employed to teach maths but used every opportunity to discuss religion, despite the fact I made it clear we were a non-religious family and didn't want to talk about these issues in this way. On one occasion she asked my daughter to pray with her. My daughter was distressed by this behaviour. On another after the death of my daughter's close friend, Mrs Jones told my daughter that when young people die they go to heaven. These conversations upset my daughter deeply. The sessions with Mrs Jones became increasingly traumatic and we decided it was not appropriate for this woman to come to my home.'

The couple, of Clevedon, Somerset, asked for their daughter not to be identified. She was diagnosed with leukaemia in April and has been undergoing gruelling chemotherapy treatment. Her illness meant she had to leave full-time education and attend the council-run Oak Hill Short Stay School and Tuition Service North, which caters for children with illness or behavioural difficulties. It was there she was taught by Mrs Jones.

Mrs Jones, a mother of two, offered to pray for the youngster during a home visit in November. She claims she was merely offering support.

Mr Lynch, 45, said: 'Mrs Jones' actions caused our family much distress at what is a difficult time. We no longer wanted Mrs Jones to come to our home at any time in the future and we asked the tuition service to deal with the matter.'

Hours later Mrs Jones said her boss told her she would no longer be working for Oak Hill Short Stay School and Tuition Service.

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I wonder if xtians would feel religiously kind if someone pushed other types of religion such as buddhism or wiccan to their xtian children. No, they would be the first ones screaming to make laws so that no one could put other ideas or thoughts into their brainwashed children's heads. Imagine if one of us told an xtian child that we were employed to teach or tutor that there is no god(s) and even if there were the xtian god is one of the most vicious, petty gods ever invented.
I couldn't agree more. I remember when I was in high school a friend of mine (fellow student) told me about a bus driver who was handing out bibles and supposedly the school board told her she would have to stop if any parents complained. According to my friend, "of course" no parents complained. She thought the whole thing was terrible and who would fault a bus driver for handing out Bibles? Although I was a x-tian at the time, I thought about the families who might not be and I thought about what if it were a bible from a different religion. My friend thought I was crazy. Many X-tians just can't see the problem with this.
This doesn't surprise me at all. I hear teachers and school staff here (U.S.) talk all the time about how the the students need Jesus. I haven't seen any actually tell the students that--just each other. I have seen many post their religious beliefs on their Facebook pages (where they friend student) and go into detail. It wouldn't surprise me if some actually talk with students about it. In my area, I doubt there would be a lot of protests from parents because it is 99% Christian.
Haven't Christian Scientists [sic], snake handlers, and various fundie crazies killed enough people by withholding medical care. Not really. Its God's Will, you know. And not that medical care hasn't killed - my father died of medical incompetence. But, really! As Obama says "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."


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