A Christian children's worker in London who claimed that she was sacked from her job for expressing her Bible-based views on homosexuality has taken her case to a tribunal in the United Kingdom.
According to a report from London Evening Standard, Belgian national Sarah Mbuyi, who is a self-described evangelical Christian, argued in a U.K. tribunal that there was "state-sponsored hostility" to her religion in the United Kingdom, noting that she was fired for expressing her views at work.
"There is a feeling in the U.K. that Christianity does not need to be respected and can be disparaged," Mbuyi said. "With other faiths there is extreme sensitivity from employers. This attitude of disrespect is very strange; this would not occur in Belgium and I cannot understand why the U.K. displays such Christian animus."
According to London Evening Standard, the devout Christian based her views on homosexuality and marriage from the Bible. She attempted to explain the tenets of her faith.
"As a Christian I try to be kind and considerate; I am conscious of the need to act in a manner appropriate to my faith," Mbuyi said. "As a citizen I have as many rights to discuss my faith as any other subject, such as politics or sexuality."
Mbuyi argued that the U.K. exercised "hostility to Christian values," making the country "considerably worse than many other EU member states in relation to freedom of religion."
The London Evening Standard reported that Mbuyi was sacked for supposedly breaching the family-owned Montessori nursery's "equality rules." She originally came under scrutiny after she told a lesbian colleague about her beliefs on same-sex marriage, according to John Bingham of The Telegraph.
"Sarah Mbuyi denies claims that she harassed the woman, who cannot be named for legal [reasons], during the conversation in January last year," Bingham wrote. "She also alleges that she was asked to act against her beliefs by reading stories about same-sex couples to children."
Bingham reported that Mbuyi has garnered support from the Christian Legal Centre, which has sent human rights barrister Paul Diamond to represent her at the tribunal. Bingham elaborated on the possible strategy Mbuyi's legal team might pursue in the tribunal.
"The legal team is planning to cite a new declaration issued through the Council of Europe, the international body which operates the European Court of Human Rights, insisting that Christians are now subject to 'intolerance and discrimination' across the continent," Bingham wrote.
According to the London Evening Standard, the nursery's barrister, Deshpal Panesar, cross-examined Mbuyi at the tribunal on Monday, accusing her of commenting on her colleague's LGBT lifestyle without being asked.
"You volunteered that her sexual orientation was a sin, didn't you?" Panesar asked.
"No, that is wrong," Mbuyi replied. "I said that I can't tell you that God is ok with that. But I also said that he can't hate you because of it, because he doesn't."
"You felt the need to confront her because of her sin?" Panesar then asked.
"No, she chose to confront me," Mbuyi said.
According to Bingham, Mbuyi argued that one should be allowed to explain the tenets of the Christian faith if asked to do so.
"In a Christian country, one should be free to explain what Christians believe on issues if asked," Mbuyi said. "And in any country, to state the agreed view of the historic Abrahamic Faiths on sexuality should simply be a matter of fact and history, and not taken by anyone, whether employee, or employer as personal or abusive."
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, told Bingham that Mbuyi's case was a sad example of British life in modern times, given that the organization is using EU law to support her.
"She was prevented from living out her faith in a country which once led the world in freedom and justice," Williams said. "This culture tries to portray the liberating good news of the Gospel as oppressive and regressive. Sarah's case demonstrates the confusion we're experiencing in current times."
The London Evening Standard reported that the tribunal plans to continue weighing Mbuyi's case until Thursday.