Faith in a hostile world

In what seems to be becoming a trend, there is yet another story in the papers about a Christian coming into conflict with her government employers:

A primary school receptionist, Jennie Cain, whose five-year-old daughter was told off for talking about Jesus in class is now facing the sack for seeking support from her church. (read more)

Reflecting on the recent cases, David Keen has written a very good piece which gets to the heart of the issue:

1 Peter encourages Christians to share their faith ‘with gentleness and respect’, the early church was deeply conscious of the suspicion of this ‘new religion’ from those around it, and there are repeated injunctions for the church to live a blameless life in order to win over those around it. As well as proclaiming the good news afresh in each generation, we also need to earn the respect of each generation by showing that Christian faith is a good thing, not a threat or a psychosis.

This is a tricky one. We need to stick up for the victimised, without creating a climate of fear where all Christians feel that someone at work is out to get them. It’s also hard to know whether these cases are the beginning of a process which will steadily erode Christian freedoms, or a few isolated incidents which are down to one or two personalities in specific jobs. It would be very sad if this whole area came to be governed by law and codes of practice, rather than by common sense and mutual respect.

You can read the whole piece here.

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5 replies on “Faith in a hostile world”

Eddie, that was quite an article about the teacher. I am still curious as to how the school got copies of her private email. That is pretty scary. We have had a really good relationship at both of our kids schools. They know we are missionaries and that we are here for the year and have bent over backwards to help our kids. Several of Alicia’s teachers are Christians and they have had service opportunities at their school–a food drive, and we made blankets for terminally ill kids and kids in fostercare. We were expecting to not be able to say anything about our faith and have found just the opposite. We know this isn’t representative of our country but it is refreshing to find here in the suburbs of Chicago.

The Telegraph may not have given the whole story as of course the BBC do 😉 . If Jasmine at 5 years old is not allowed to state the truth about hell without prefixing it with the words “I believe that:”, then why are teachers allowed to assert naturalistic views about the origins of the universe and and of life without stating that their position is one of belief rather than of fact.

There seem to be two stories:
– what the little girl said (& how the teacher handled it): insensitive, in the BBC version, but she is only five. Perhaps the school should be investigating how the teacher handled it, as it seems to have left the child upset & confused.

– and what the Mum did (& how the school is handling it). A tricky workplace issue, where the “rights” of a “client” (parent, in the case of a school) get mixed up with the “responsibilities” of a staff member. Not necessarily anything about faith & the expression of it. I’d go with Paul’s first comment on that one!

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