Thursday, February 12, 2009

Another case of Christianophobia

Briefing. Christians have no right of religious self-expression: this is the attitude which is being drummed into the functionaries of the state, and it is increasingly having an effect on ordinary people.

From the Christian Institute (and Daily Telegraph): The Daily Telegraph reports today that a primary school receptionist, Jennie Cain, whose five-year-old daughter was told off for talking about Jesus in class is being investigated for professional misconduct after seeking support from her church. Her daughter Jasmine had been overheard by a teacher discussing heaven and God with a friend and had been taken to one side and told off.

Mrs Cain contacted 10 close friends from her church by email but the message came to the attention of Gary Read, the headmaster of Landscore Primary School, Crediton, Devon, where she works as a receptionist.

The 38-year-old mother of two is now being investigated for professional misconduct for allegedly making claims against the school and its staff.

Mrs Cain has been told she may be disciplined and was warned she could face dismissal.

Mrs Cain, who has worked part-time at the school for two and a half years, describes herself as a "quiet Christian" who would never force her beliefs on others.

But she said she was angry about the way she had been treated: "I felt embarrassed that a private prayer email was read by the school – it felt like someone had gone through my personal prayer diary.

"I feel my beliefs are so central to who I am, are such a part of my children's life.

"I do feel our beliefs haven't been respected and I don't feel I have been treated fairly. I don't know what I am supposed to have done wrong."

On January 22, Mrs Cain went to pick up her children from Landscore Primary School

"My daughter burst into tears, her face was all red and she was clearly upset.

"She said 'my teacher told me I couldn't talk about Jesus' – I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

"She said she was taken aside in the classroom and told she couldn't say that. I was so shocked, I didn't know what to do."

Mrs Cain said she decided to wait until she wasn't working to discuss the issue with the teacher Sharon Gottelier as a parent rather than an employee.

But she was called into Mr Read's office the next day over another matter before he started discussing Jasmine.

"He started talking about my daughter about how he wasn't happy about her making statements about her faith.

"At that point I froze, I felt very small and I felt trapped as I was a junior member of staff."

That weekend, she emailed a prayer request from her personal computer at home to 10 trusted friends from her church.

"I asked them to please pray for us, please pray for Jasmine, please pray for the school and pray for the church."

A few days later she was called back into Mr Read's office.

"I didn't think at this point I could be more stunned. He had in his hand a copy of my private, personal email and it was highlighted all the way through.

"He said that he was going to investigate me for professional misconduct because I had been making allegations about the school and staff to members of the public."

"He said the investigation could be followed by disciplinary action up to and including dismissal because of this private email."

Mr Read said: "An investigation by the governors of the school is being held into the conduct of a member of staff and at this stage I cannot comment any further."

Her case is being supported by the Christian Institute who said Mrs Cain was the latest example of a Christian being persecuted by society.

The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said: “I thought I had heard it all when I learned a nurse had been suspended for offering to pray for a patient.

“But now a five-year-old girl and her mother have been slammed for nothing more than expressing their Christian faith.

“I am particularly concerned about the way in which Mrs Cain’s private email to her church friends ended up in the hands of the head teacher.

“This is the latest in a series of cases where Christians are being persecuted for their religious beliefs. It is really getting to a point where it has to stop.”


Joe Fogey said...

According to the school, and as published by the BBC and the Times but by neither the Mail nor the Telegraph, Ms Cain's daughter told another child that she would go to hell if she didn't believe in God. Surely a teacher is entitled to ask one five year old child not to terrify another by threatening her with eternal damnation?

AS for the email, we don't know what it contained. It was, we are told, sent from Ms Cain's home computer to ten "trusted" friends, one of whom presumably thought that the headteacher ought to know about it. We still don't know what it said, but many of us have clauses in our contracts of employment saying we shouldn't bring our employers into disrepute. If the Christian Institute are certain Ms Cain is the innocent victim here, why not publish the email?

Hercules said...

The idea that is was one of Mrs Cain's friends who shopped her is preposterous. It is far more likely that the school searched her emails without her permission.

Telling your friends about an incident like that is hardly bringing your employer into disrepute - if so heaven help all of us.

As for the hell business, what source do we have for that? The school, presumably, trying to justify itself. How much credit do you give them? And if it happened, what do you think the appropriate response was? To tell Mrs Cain that her child shouldn't talk about religion? Yeah, right.

Simon Platt said...

I'm pretty sure the school didn't search Mrs Cain's email, because she didn't use any equipment to which the school had access. Of course we don't know how the school got hold of it - it's possible that a recipient "shopped" her, or perhaps complained to the school, or passed it on to someone else who did. One thing does seem to be certain here - that the headmaster's reaction has brought the school into disrepute.

Hercules said...

She used the school email system; they can call it all up. This happens all the time in firms and Universities.

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen