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Devout Christian thrown off Sheffield course for gay comments, loses High Court battle

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Would they dare throw a Muslim out? Or are there no devout Muslim social workers?

A free society is by its nature one in which people put up with others being uncivil and offensive. The alternative is a quiet authoritarian society in which only one opinion is allowed and the others are silenced, and ultimately sent to the camps.

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Felix Ngole posted the comments two years ago. Credit: PA

A devout Christian who was thrown off a University of Sheffield course after being accused of posting anti-gay marriage comments online has lost his High Court battle.

Felix Ngole, who is from Barnsley, claimed he was lawfully expressing a traditional Christian view and complained that university bosses unfairly stopped him completing a postgraduate degree in social work.

Officials at the Christian Legal Centre, which had backed Mr Ngole, said the decision was wrong and would have a “chilling” effect.

Deputy High Court Judge Rowena Collins Rice has ruled that university bosses acted within the law following a High Court trial in London.

Public religious speech has to be looked at in a regulated context from the perspective of a public readership.

Social workers have considerable power over the lives of vulnerable service users and trust is a precious professional commodity.

– Deputy High Court Judge Rowena Collins Rice

Mr Ngole had argued that his rights to freedom of speech and thought, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, had been breached.

But lawyers representing the university argued that he showed ”no insight” and said the decision to remove him from the course was fair and proportionate.

Mr Ngole posted comments two years ago, when in his late 30s, the judge was told. He was taking part in an debate on a Facebook page about Kim Davis, a state official in the US state of Kentucky, who refused to register same-sex marriages.

Mr Ngole said he had argued that Mrs Davis’s position was based on the “Biblical view of same-sex marriage as a sin”.

He said he was making a “genuine contribution” to an important public debate and said he was “entitled to express his religious views”.

University bosses said he had posted comments on a publicly accessible Facebook page which were “derogatory of gay men and bisexuals”.

I am very disappointed by this ruling, which supports the university’s decision to bar me from my chosen career because of my Biblical views on sexual ethics.

I intend to appeal this decision, which clearly intends to restrict me from expressing my Christian faith in public.

– Felix Ngole

The university, in investigating Mr Ngole’s personal Facebook posts and disciplining him for them, is acting as if they are thought police.

This ruling will have a chilling effect on Christian students up and down the country who will now understand that their personal social media posts may be investigated for political correctness.

– Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre

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