‘My views on gay marriage shouldn’t stop me from being a social worker’

After being expelled from his social work course for sharing anti-gay views on Facebook, Felix Ngole sets out his side of the story

Felix Ngole, photo courtesy of Christian Concern
Felix Ngole, photo courtesy of Christian Concern

Felix Ngole is appealing a university’s decision to expel him from his social work degree after he posted anti-gay marriage views on Facebook.

A university conduct panel found Ngole’s actions would affect his ability to carry out his role as a social worker. The case has sparked fierce debate over whether the university’s decision was draconian or correct. Here, Ngole sets out his side of the story.

by Felix Ngole

I came to this country because of the opportunities I thought it offered. Britain once led the world in freedom and justice and is iconic in my homeland of Cameroon. So many of us in Cameroon aspire to the kind of possibilities that we believe only Britain can give us. We think of it as a nation that protects freedom of speech, religion and our ability to be who we want to be.

It therefore came as quite a shock to find myself expelled from a social work course at a prestigious Russell Group University just because I stood up for someone’s right to exercise freedom of conscience at work.

The case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky Clerk who felt herself unable to issue marriage licences to same sex couples found herself in jail for contempt of court, was all over the media. There was a lot of discussion about the case on and off the university campus.

I entered into the discussion on my personal Facebook account. I wanted to defend her; because she, like me and millions of others across the globe believe that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.

Motivated to serve

Studying for a master’s degree in social work, you’re constantly reminded of the importance of fairness, of treating everyone equally and of not discriminating against anyone. I chose the course because I come from a nation where I have witnessed poverty and hardship. I have been given a chance in this nation; I have a personal and vibrant faith in Jesus Christ and am motivated to serve people in my community and in my work and to give back to this country.

Just because I disagree with a homosexual lifestyle, it doesn’t mean to say that I won’t act in a professional, kind and compassionate way when dealing with homosexuals. We all disagree on many, many issues; governments rise and fall off the back of that process via the ballot box. If my freedom to express my opinion is removed on this matter, then why not on any and all other matters where the present government disagrees?

The University of Sheffield didn’t seem to want to give me a chance. If you hold that kind of opinion they seemed to say ‘you’re not fit to be a social worker’.

Intolerance

They couldn’t see beyond that; they couldn’t see the irony of their own intolerance of my views. If this is the way the system operates then it means that people like me and followers of Christ everywhere will be ‘barred from professions’; deemed ‘not fit for practise’.

What a shame when I believe I have so much to offer; a heart and a willingness to get on with the job, people and to facilitate the existing laws. The new political orthodoxy coerces and compels a ‘way to think and a way to speak’ – if you disagree you’re left out in the cold.

I’m just me. What frightens me is that I’m perhaps just one of many. I’m the one who found the Christian Legal Centre and they encouraged me to fight my case. I was all for just letting it go and quitting my dream. I realise that would have been a mistake. How many have just let their dreams go because of the new cultural Marxism that censors and punishes any view that does not accord with the new orthodoxy of the law and state.

So I am now taking my case forward for students just like me everywhere; for social workers, teachers, nurses who love and are motivated by the love of Jesus to continue to be free to work in this nation that I love, Great Britain.

Do you want to write for Community Care? Email communitycare@rbi.co.uk

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75 Responses to ‘My views on gay marriage shouldn’t stop me from being a social worker’

  1. Inksmith March 10, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    Are you really arguing that it’s intolerant not to tolerate intolerance?! I’m a lesbian, and I’d be horrified to learn that my social worker believed my right to marriage should be revoked, and that he disagreed with my lifestyle (would that be the lifestyle of having a job? Seeing my friends? Knitting for a hobby? Looking after my cat? Or do you mean that you disagree with my sexuality, and with me being open about it in public? Cos I think it’s the latter).

    The university threw you out for being a homophobe, and not being wise enough to keep it off your public social media. That’s not denial of freedom of speech – that’s enforcement of consequences for your speech.

    • Jonathan Ritchie March 10, 2016 at 11:19 am #

      Enforcement of consequences for expressing an opinion is denial of freedom of speech.

      • thelexington March 10, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

        This isn’t America…

      • Inksmith March 10, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

        No it isn’t. If you want to express bigoted views, then you have to accept that there will be a response to it that you might not like. Denial of freedom of speech would be banning him from saying these things anywhere ever under any circumstances; that';s not what happened, as evidenced by the fact that he gets to argue his case for no consequence homophobia in a national newsletter.

      • Sheree March 11, 2016 at 10:25 pm #

        Actually Freedom of Speech is not an absolute Human Right.

        • Jim Greer March 18, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

          As I have posted elsewhere I think that the individual concerned is not suitable for social work because of his opinions about gay people. However, I am disappointed to see some people in this thread criticising the right to free speech or saying that this not America.
          This is not a free speech issue. A social worker has to demonstrate that they have a non- judgemental attitude to all citizens and that they do not have prejudicial views about anybody based on their sexuality, gender or any other aspect of their identity. If they do express prejudiced views then they are revealing that they do not hold social work values. Expressing or holding such views brings the practice of the individual into question and endangers the confidence that members of the public will have in the profession.
          This has nothing to do with the free speech rights of ordinary citizens which are, quite rightly, strongly defended in the United States. Free speech is the one human right which makes all others possible through the ability to challenge authority whether that be political or religious.

    • Nigel March 10, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

      True that!

    • Graham March 10, 2016 at 10:06 pm #

      In theory, he should refer you to another social worker if it will be a conflict of interest. You biased opinions are just as valid as his. The point is the Uni should not have thrown him out for his different World-view. It is a sad state of affairs when you are not allowed to believe a minority belief without backlash

    • pink d March 11, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

      If you believe in your being a lesbian as a right to yourself, why can’t someone have a different view as opposed to yours as their own rights?

    • Jean Millie March 11, 2016 at 5:30 pm #

      Why can’t we disagree without being called homophobic, this man has explained this in his article! He’s not denying your right to the life you have chosen to live but he disagrees with ‘gay’ marriage.
      You say this is not denial of freedom of speech – that’s enforcement of consequences for your speech. So do you think Christians are wrong, bigoted, narrow minded or should just keep quiet about everything, politics, sex and religion… even not professing Jesus as Lord and Saviour? If so you prove yourself to be bigoted, narrow minded, and just as ‘phobic’ as you say this chap is!
      If you agree that Christians should be allowed to live according to their conscience and their Holy Book, the Bible, then what’s your problem? Would you have the same opinion/problem if a Muslim or other religion disagreed with your chosen lifestyle? Britain is a tolerant nation but that doesn’t mean we should all be clones and afraid to speak our minds when it comes to disagreeing with issues that are important to us. This man has come to live here and is prepared to work hard to gain a profession, we need more people like him, I hope and pray that he will be reinstated, finish his course and go on to lead a life helping others less fortunate than himself.

    • Sheree March 11, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

      Inksmith I agree with you. I think as Social Workers we really need to challenge our prejudices and reflect on our discriminatory views before we can go out and practice effectively. I wonder how he might have felt if he were a service user being assessed by a racist – and learned that social worker had openly expressed racist views on social media? Would he feel comfortable with that? I doubt it.

  2. amanda March 10, 2016 at 11:19 am #

    I think this article is not helpful as it is not balanced or evidence based as it does not include exactley what was said and in what circumstances or the rational of the university. I think its a bit unfair for Communitycare to be asking social workers to vote about such a serious matter without providing them with the necessary information on which to make comment. By doing so i think you risk fueling unnessary argument rather then creating useful debate.

    • Stuart March 10, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

      Excellent point Amanda – I often click those polls just to see what others are saying but this time I won’t because we don’t have all the information.

      The point I want to add is that the much vaunted ”freedom of speech” is not impinged upon in the uniersity’s decision. Felix is at as much liberty as anyone to say what he thinks – and it’s probably best for us all that he did. But the university and ”the profession” are at liberty to conclude that what he thinks isn’t compatible with being a social worker.

      While he was still a student I might have been inclined to say ‘you’re here to learn, now tell us what you’ve learned’ and maybe let him continue on the basis of his response but for all I know they probably did that and found an intransigent person who could not learn and could not adjust his thinking to more closely match the expectations of the profession and the role he aspires to. That is certainly the impression of himself this article presents.

      So no sympathy from me.

  3. Trevor McCarthy March 10, 2016 at 11:33 am #

    Sorry but you are not being censored or punished for expressing your views. Your public expression of discriminatory attitudes towards a sector of the population has resulted in a decision that your public behaviour is not compatible with carrying out the duties of a professional social worker.
    It isn’t “orthodoxy” or – hilariously – Marxism. It is about combatting the discrimination that compounds and perpetuates the disadvantages that result in people needing social work in the first place.
    Of course you are welcome to expound your views and your faith. However, if those expressions mean that vulnerable service users cannot reasonably expect equitable treatment then you cannot occupy a position in publicly funded public services.
    Your avowed religious “love” is not some trump card you can play that defeats all other arguments. I sincerely hope you find an occupation that is fulfilling and accommodates your perspective but it shouldn’t be social work.

    • Sheree March 11, 2016 at 10:48 pm #

      Trevor I SO agree with you. Social Work is not a career for people who cannot show respect for their clients and this man would not have been able to do that.

  4. Leigh March 10, 2016 at 11:49 am #

    How can he say his views will not affect his practice?! He would not put the rights of a gay person over his own religious beliefs, as he states how important it is to him. His comments on facebook are discriminate in the extreme.

    I wouldn’t want him in my team.

    • Michal March 11, 2016 at 11:24 am #

      How can people be so blind not to see that disagreeing with somethings is not the same as hating a person who does it. If parents hate that a kid did something they disagree with it does not mean that they will hate the kid.
      What evidence is there that if Felix states that he disagrees with homosexuality it will mean that he will refuse to provide proper service to homosexual clients?
      We meet everyday people with whom we disagree. If you agree with his dismissal how can you not force anyone with a political opinion out of the course, maybe a social workers who support Labour will discriminate against their client who supports UKIP?

      Did society become so toxic that people can not disagree without hating each other? Because this is what Felix’s dismissal and many comments above have proved – that people holding so called liberal views are not willing to live in a pluralistic society, as much as they accuse religious people of that.

      • Jeff March 11, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

        Because he referenced Kim Davis as the reason for his decision to defend religious liberty. A person who chose to refuse services to people because of their sexual orientation.

        • Michal March 11, 2016 at 7:23 pm #

          But he is not going to be performing the wedding ceremony for them is he… He stated previously that he provided care to homosexual clients. Doctors who object to some procedure don’t perform it, the system caters for it by providing someone else, but the doctor would still see a patient who had such a procedure in the area in which the doctor works. Why should it be different in social work?

  5. Andrea March 10, 2016 at 11:52 am #

    well said Jonathan. Sadly I don’t think consequences for expressing an opinion different to that of others in the social work system are only meted out in relation to such issues as homophobia – it is increasingly difficult to do social work, and impact positively on plans for children, amidst self advancers and those appeasing councillors who bully workers into actions that are not in the best interests of children, but are in the best interests of their personal goals.

  6. Andrea March 10, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    also agree Trevors point – however, just as you are raising the religious ‘trump card’ as you put it, it could be argued that the subject matter itself is a ‘trump card’ like others which cannot be discussed.
    As for hoping he won’t remain in social work – of course he will – you seriously saying he is alone??!!

  7. Safia March 10, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    I rarely comment on here, in fact it’s my first time but I felt moved enough to put in my 2 cents. I agree whole heartedly with the universities decision. I feel too many students who are void of the the correct values and ethics make it through the system as it is, I’m a social worker and a practice educator and if I’d been on the panel responsible for determining the outcome of this students case I would have voted to expel him too. I feel it would be unfair to subject homosexual service users and clients to the kind of intolerance that resides in this individual, he shared a quote from the bible on social media referring to gay people as ‘abominations’.. Need I say more?! And he’s trying to convince people that he’d respect and treat gay people as equals. Well I don’t buy it..yes great British is a sanctuary, BECAUSE we don’t tolerate views such as yours. In social work freedom of speech has boundaries of sorts, as the people you support come first.

    • Graham March 10, 2016 at 10:08 pm #

      WTF! what and who is the judge of “Correct values and ethics”……… This is JUST as biased and bigoted as the OP

      • Sarah March 11, 2016 at 7:21 pm #

        Read the British Association of Social Work’s Code of Ethics. You’ll find that ‘challenging discrimination’ and ‘recognising diversity’ are principles that social workers are expected to share. If you don’t, then I suggest you leave the profession and find a less bigoted job like working for UKIP.

      • Sarah March 11, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

        Read the British Association of Social Work’s Code of Ethics. You’ll find that ‘challenging discrimination’ and ‘recognising diversity’ are principles that social workers are expected to share.

  8. linda March 10, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

    I have personal opinions that may conflict with my social work values. For example i am anti abortion but this has never altered how i work with women who have had terminations or are planning them. We can hold personal views and successfully work from a professional value base. I work with people who have religious conviction they do not personally agree with same sex marriage but it does not impact on their work. Social work is in danger if we cannot tolerate different views.

    • Sian March 11, 2016 at 7:59 am #

      I have worked with people who have severe mental illness all my career. It is my experience that the one thing my clients have wanted from me is to be genuine in my support of them; that what I believe, who I am, is consistent with how I am with them.

      How can anyone hold strong views on gay marriage or abortion and not have them colour (I originally wrote ‘taint’, which is, I think, more apposite) their interactions with their clients? It’s hypocritical and dishonest on the deepest level and any therapeutic relationship will be rotten at its core.

      I applaud Sheffield University in its decision to expel him from the course. I wouldn’t want to work with him.

      • Michal March 11, 2016 at 10:40 pm #

        I don’t think they are dishonest, they just make a distinction between an action and the person performing it, and they probably appreciate that living what they deem an upright life is tricky and people fail at it.

        I know tons of people who are against abortion, but Who simultaneously have a lot of coma passion for women who had one as they appreciate that it must not have been and is not easy for them.

        Secondly interacting with people with whose lifestyle they disagree with might make them exactly more appreciative of such people.
        Or do you suggest that Felix should be locked up, isolated and treated worse than a criminal – because what benefit would this bring.

    • Nicky March 11, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

      The committee said that its decision was not based on his views but the act of publicly posting them. Most institutions have rules and policies on posting things on social media. His views on homosexuality being an ‘abomination’ are irrelevant as he broke their rules!!

  9. Martin Porter March 10, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    It’s very hard to give an opinion here. Was he removed from his course for expressing an opinion on facebook, which is troubling, or for saying that like Kim Davis he would refuse to facilitate gay marriage, which is something very different?

  10. Jsewell March 10, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    Social workers are ‘agents of change’. We fight all forms of inequality and injustice against each individual irrespective of age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, class, caste, religion etc.

    By expressing your personal opinions about homosexuality publicly, you already took your position to condone widespread discrimination, persecution and violence against gay individuals and groups.

    • Sheree March 11, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

      Bravo JSewell!

  11. Helen Williamson March 10, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

    Would it be okay for me to say that a black person should not be able to marry a white person due to some religious or personal view? No of course not. That would be seen as totally racist which it would be – and no-one would tolerate in a social worker There can be a hierarchy of discrimination and “tolerance” of his view is an example of just that. He is entitled to few speech but that doesn’t make him suitable to work with service users. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that there are high levels of mental Heath, suicides and substance misuse amongst this group. They need workers who fully support their equal rights

    • Helen Williamson March 10, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

      That should say free speech

  12. thelexington March 10, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    You aren’t being punished for being homophobic, your being punished for spreading homophobic propaganda IN A PUBLIC DOMAIN AND AS AN ASPIRING SOCIAL WORKER.

  13. Jim Greer March 10, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

    I think the key words for me in this is that you ‘disagree with a homosexual lifestyle’. This for me would suggest that social work is not a suitable career for you. It is possible for example to be against abortion but not be morally judgemental about people who have one. It is possible to be against legalisation of drugs but not be judgmental about people who use them. However, as soon as you become judgemental about how other people live their lives or about whom they choose as a partner then your position is incompatible with the values of the profession.
    Your support of the Kentucky clerk, however, is a different matter. If your support was on the basis of that homosexuality is wrong then you are clearly in conflict with social work values. If, however, your support was based on compassion for an administrative worker being forced to go against their conscience then that is a viewpoint which might be shared by some people with liberal views about sexuality.
    I am sad to hear that you have lost your dream. However, looking at the way you have expressed yourself in this article it appears that your expulsion is based on your unsuitability for the profession rather than curtailment of your freedom of speech.

  14. Andrew March 10, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    I think this is really difficult. As a gay man I feel that if he fosters acceptance and unconditional positive regard within his work then that is all we can ask for.
    Although different I often work with paedophiles and sex offenders and still deliver a service to the level as I would anyone else.
    If it was a post about Nature vs Nurture that would be better in my view. Think he requires educating on LGBT causes and issues.
    Abomination is a bit of a strong view but he has a right to his views, and it is stipulated in religion. There were many people on my course with homophobic views and they are in practice now.
    I think if we react like this then we will just drive peoples views underground and we would not be able to challenge them.
    In effect this is barring anyone that is deeply religious from being a SW, or is it a case of we wont ask if you don’t tell? In any case watch what you post on social media.

    • Dog March 11, 2016 at 10:08 am #

      I think you have demonstrated a very balanced and understanding view Andrew and I salute you for it. for me it is important to recognise that he is being expelled from his course, not employment. I wonder what the distinction may be, I wonder if he is learning the values and ethics which are at the cornerstone of the professions, and if his view is open to change. I feel the rhetoric and language he has used such as an ‘abomination’ is borderline extremism. This is what irks me the most. this doesn’t seem to represent an ounce of understanding into both the nature and culture of LGBT. it is an interesting debate and one that is not easily answered. what is clear that Felix is using community care article as a platform to invoke sympathy rather than reflecting upon this process in a constructive way. I suppose we can only wish him the best and await an outcome.

  15. Michy March 10, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

    I am a Christian and a qualified social worker. I am always willing to change my possible prejudices because I have the understanding that this is how I grow as an individual; it allows me to develop spiritually and professionally. I believe the values and principles of social work practice are closely linked to those of Christianity. Although, this article does not offer the context of the situation, I should hope that Felix has taken the time to reflect and pray because as it says in the bible, judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.

    I wish him all the best and hope there has been great learning for him during this experience.

  16. Joseph Dalton March 10, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

    I’m pleasantly surprised to see 45% say No, it was not right to punish Felix, whatever it is he is being punished for. Because he is being punished.

    Would you say that a plumber could not provide a safe and efficient service to someone who is homosexual on the grounds that they believe marriage to be a union between a man and a woman?
    Or a car mechanic, or a solicitor, or a footballer, or a dinner lady?

    • Made in Bedlam March 10, 2016 at 10:14 pm #

      You say he is being punished but give no justification for this statement.

      Why is he being punished?

      Your post ignores that he outboard his comments, and so undermined the confidence thaf future SUs might have in his professionalism. Or perhaps that’s not important to you.

      Your comparisons with plumbers, car mechanics are moronic. What legal power does a mechanic or plumber have to make decisions about the lives of children or the vulnerable?

    • Dog March 11, 2016 at 10:09 am #

      Joseph, I’m afraid this comment has no validity whatsoever.

    • Sheree March 11, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

      AAAArrrrggghhhh! We are talking about SOCIAL WORK – it’s not a bloody trade!!

  17. anon March 10, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

    His views are not compatible with social work, by quoting that homosexuality is an abomination. Even if it doesn’t sit comfortably with you, expressing such strong discriminatory views about a marginalised minority group throws the profession into disrepute if you are then allowed to practice within it. Social work practice has it’s roots in anti-discriminatory practice, and though we all have prejudices, it is important to reflect upon these and conduct ourselves as professionals. Bashing the LGBT community goes completely against our values. It also raises the question- how will you cope if you DO practice with these views? I met a nurse with similar views who their colleagues could no longer trust to work in a professional manner.

    By the way, adultery is mentioned way more than homosexuality in the bible. And there are plenty of religious LGBT people. Marriage, however, predates Christianity so his point is really not a valid one. Using your religion as a cover or excuse to promote discrimination is just so contradictory to the teachings of someone I’ve heard of… Oh that’s right, Jesus Christ.

    Freedom of speech allows you to express your views, which you have done.
    Anti-discrimination, however, allows people to challenge your views and react to them. I applaud this University.

  18. Julie Thompson March 10, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

    I’m sorry this has ended your career as a social worker, but to be honest I am astounded that you think you’ve done nothing wrong. You were training to be a social worker – have you not read the ethics and values embedded into your chosen profession?? How can you possibly support people from the communities that your bible tells you are an abomination or whatever you call it. Yes they are your views, yes everyone is entitled to follow religion but perhaps you should of thought seriously about this before you decided about a career in social work and how offensive your views are to others.

  19. Jake March 10, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

    I work with Christian and Muslim social work colleagues and some are also in my team. Despite their faith, they do not hold any homophobic views or discriminate. So what makes you different? Why should we make an exception for you? Why should a profession fighting for social justice and social change, make an exception for you?

  20. Gavin March 10, 2016 at 6:57 pm #

    I expect students of sw to do more than say “Because the bible says so” when judging a particular behaviour or way of life to be an “abomination”. I would expect any sw programme worthy of the name to expect students to be able to present reasoned arguments for their views. There are all kinds of evil being perpetrated around the world, justified by some quote from a holy book. SW students need to be able to produce reflective, evidence based and considered views. If we are expected to respect views based on religion there needs to be something worthy of respect.

    • John March 10, 2016 at 9:58 pm #

      Hi Gavin.

      The Bible in and of itself is worthy of respect, just as the position of a SW. It does not have to justify itself for it is the very words of God. Now I know that you will deny this but as a Christian man, this mans life will be based on “Because the Bible says so.” It wasn’t that long ago when the nation as a whole recognised this. It’s also a sad indictment of where we are that social work has a Christian foundation. Look where we are now. A person can’t even express their views on such things without the thought police and the intolerant coming down like a ton of bricks.

  21. Malikah March 10, 2016 at 7:10 pm #

    Many social workers hold personal views and beliefs that contrasts with the values and ethics of social work practice. I prefer to know those that hold intolerant views so that it can be challenged, debated and develop reflective conscientious practitioners. Those that hold such views privately are practising with some autonomy with service users. It makes you question the decision making process, allocation of resources and service delivery on the whole. What we don’t want in social work practice is for silence to be the only real manner to freely express your personal beliefs (scary!)

  22. John March 10, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

    Wow! I am shocked by the intolerance from so many replies to this story concerning this guys opinion. That’s what it boils down to. His opinion means he doesn’t agree with sodomy. That doesn’t make him homophobic or a bigot. You guys have got to stop playing that card. He just doesn’t agree. He’s better off out of it. Who would want to work in such an environment as you guys portray. Talk about hateful. Many of you folk need to take a good, long look in the mirror with hypocrites written on it. If he’s a Christian, he’s not going to compromise his faith on this or is that something you’d frog march him into doing? To what degree would you tolerate Christians and their faith when it comes to sexual disagreements? Your answers speak volumes for your tolerance.

    • Felix Ngole March 10, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

      Thanks John

    • Liz March 10, 2016 at 10:46 pm #

      Um, his opinion does not mean he “does not agree with sodomy” because a) he has no idea if gay men are participating in sodomy. Amazingly, not all gay men do, in fact many don’t and b) gay women probably engage in sodomy significantly less than gay men.

      I’m not sure if this might not have been handled better but I think the social work profession is probably better off without him and he, likewise, should try and find a profession which is a better fit with his personal philosophy.

    • julian spurr March 10, 2016 at 11:38 pm #

      Hi John – quite bizarre. I have read the comments on here and find them mostly inoffensive with a good degree of understanding. There are lots of issues facing people and intollerance is a big one. In some countries in Africa such as Uganda homosexualty is being criminalised again in laws such as the “Kill the Gays bill”.

      What I fail to understand with people like this is how they can focus on these issues rather then rail against the huge inequalities in society and injustice.

      It is quite simple.Do not ‘beome a social worker ” . Gay marriage is not the biggest threat to the world so get some sense of proportion.

      By the way you are clearly the Troll!

    • Jeff March 11, 2016 at 6:43 am #

      I am a graduate student in a social work program and I am flabbergasted by this. Anyone that has any knowledge of the profession, knows that your personal biases hold no ground. I am especially saddened to read John’s comments, as they show little knowledge of the ethics involved in this field. It has nothing to do with compromising your faith. I would also implore him to further explore the definitions of homophobia and bigotry, as it seems he lacks a solid understanding of either. Reading the code of ethics for the N.A.S.W. might also shed some light on the matter. Let’s be clear: this is not a profession for anyone and everyone. You don’t get a “free pass” from having to work with or help certain demographics that make you feel as though your religious convictions have been challenged. In fact, it’s just the opposite; we as social workers are taught to put other’s needs before our own. The university’s administration was absolutely right to terminate the academic relationship.

    • anon March 11, 2016 at 10:48 am #

      To disagree with the gay lifestyle is homophobic. Simple really.

      Funny how homosexuality isn’t in the 10 commandments…

    • Helen Williamson March 11, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

      John, he disagreed with a “homosexual lifestyle” – whatever that is. I don’t think he is narrowing it down to “disagreeing with sodomy” unless there’s something I’ve missed, and by the way, anal sex is not an exclusively gay thing – not all gay men do it… some heterosexual people do it and what about lesbians? He said he disapproves of gay marriage.

  23. Chris Goodhead March 10, 2016 at 9:12 pm #

    Competing rights? Differing perspectives? Unwise decisions? A social work student with the potential to develop?

    Surely social work education is equipped to deal with this kind of thing without simply shutting the door?

  24. DWB March 10, 2016 at 9:13 pm #

    For those repeatedly referring to the SW Code of Ethics,

    Please note that the Code ONLY addresses actions and behaviour, and not beliefs. (although clearly beliefs do influence behaviour to some extent; i.e. whether irreligious and religious beliefs). However within the highly monitored context of Social Work, professional conduct would be easily identified as unethical. SO judge a SWs behaviour as evidence of unethical conduct and not personal beliefs (which we all possess)

    I agree that voicing personal beliefs with clients would be inappropriate. However voicing differing views on lifestyle or behaviour in a public context cannot be compared to encouraging discrimination, e.g. just like disputing/rejecting climate change in itself could result in melting glaciers.

    Historically in the UK, Christian beliefs gave birth to Social Work (lest we forget) since the teachings of Jesus emphasise the equality of humanity regardless of lifestyle, behaviour, morals. Please dont quote the Old Testament to represent Christian values. Jesus is the lense through which a Christian reads the rest of the Bible; and Jesus modelled perfecr social work. Christianity and the SW Code of Ethics are compatable.

    “In 2012, the British Association of Social Workers issued a revised Code of Ethics for Social Work that emphasised its commitment to three basic values:

    Human rights – respect for the inherent worth and dignity of all people as expressed in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    Social justice – a responsibility to promote social justice, in relation to society generally, and in relation to the people with whom they work

    Professional integrity – a responsibility to respect and uphold the values and principles of the profession and act in a reliable, honest and trustworthy manner. (BASW Code of Ethics for Social Work – Statement of Principles  (p. 8))n 2012, the British Association of Social Workers issued a revised Code of Ethics for Social Work that emphasised its commitment to three basic values: Human rights – respect for the inherent worth and dignity of all people as expressed in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights Social justice – a responsibility to promote social justice, in relation to society generally, and in relation to the people with whom they work Professional integrity – a responsibility to respect and uphold the values and principles of the profession and act in a reliable, honest and trustworthy manner. (BASW Code of Ethics for Social Work – Statement of Principles 29 (p. 8))”
    http://cdn.basw.co.uk/upload/basw_112315-7.pdf

  25. Tim Jagger March 10, 2016 at 9:23 pm #

    It is legal to have abortions in this country. Is it wrong to express the opinion that abortion is wrong?

    It is illegal to commit euthanasia in this country. Is it wrong to express the opinion that euthanasia should be permitted?

    It is legal to use corporal punishment against your children in this country. Is it wrong to express the opinion that to do so is wrong?

    It is illegal to have more than one spouse in this country. Is it wrong express the an opinion in support of that?

    The legal recognition for people to enter into a same-sex marriage relationship is about a microsecond old in the grand history of human sociology – and it is still not recognised in the overwhelming majority of the world’s political jurisdictions. To think that someone is incapable of being a competent, compassionate SW because they happen to hold a view that is held by the vast majority of people for the vast majority of human history is pure prejudicial bigotry.

  26. Jonathan Brown March 10, 2016 at 9:29 pm #

    It does beg the question, are orthodox Jews, conservative Muslims, evangelical Anglicans, practising Catholics or even typical sub-Saharan citizens to be excluded from being SWs from this time forth?

  27. Brendan March 10, 2016 at 10:26 pm #

    Freedom of speech is not something that should be taken lightly. Nor should it be used as a card to play when your thoughts and beliefs fall outside that of a professional government service that aims to protect the most vulnerable in society. When you make statements based on religious dogma in a secular society expect to answer for your beliefs. If you believe in your beliefs then a profession that preaches equality for all is not for you. Pick another profession where you are not hindered by your beliefs.
    In an educated world we are able to recognise the good that faith and belief has and the dangers it also carries if you interpret an old unsubstantiated piece of religious text and expect to hold it aloft as a simple freedom of speech issue…

  28. Tim March 10, 2016 at 10:37 pm #

    I think there are several views not considered in the many reactions. Let me say first that I am a social worker. I am also gay. Most important to my being is that I am a spiritual being who happens to identify as Christian. I don’t believe any one, or any group has the monopoly on faith, prayer, or salvation.

    I am not familiar with Britain’s social work standards, but can’t imagine it being too different from the U.S. Version. I think we should know though before judging.

    I do know though that the churches of the African continent are much more conservative than any of us understand. My family finds its community of faith in The United Methodist Church. I used to lead worship at our church; now our children’s’ biological gay mom leads the worship. None of us have joined the church because the African United Methodist conference has threatened to split from the rest of the world over the issue. In my likely narrow opinion, the extreme conservative stance in the African church probably is rooted in the European movement in the first few centuries. Yes, the Europeans.

    I don’t assume to make excuses for others’ opinions held, but I do posit we as social workers look at the root cause of the opinion/belief and perhaps we can help be a tool toward change. I hope he gets back into a school to complete his work. I have hope. Yes, I’m gay and I still have hope in him.

    Tim, Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.A.

  29. Rosa Parks March 11, 2016 at 12:05 am #

    This whole debate is unfair, simply because social worker’s are human, and we all have our beliefs, prejudices, opinions about race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, age etc the list goes on. The thing is this gentleman viewed his opinion based on HIS RELIGION. He believes in Jesus Christ which is what he said, and his beliefs come from the bible which talks about homosexuality, he is therefore standing by his beliefs. He didn’t write the bible did he?? but it is faith. We will not all agree with his beliefs, but guess what there are millions of people in the world that will share his beliefs and views and may never say it for fear of reprisal. Allow him to voice his opinion because there are many LGBT people that feel if other folks don’t agree with their lifestyle then they are homophobic, which is wrong and isn’t true in many cases. It said in the article he DISAGRESS with the lifestyle of lesbian and gays. Did he say he hates LGBT’s? no he didn’t. Being LGBT is not a crime, so no crime has been committed if a person identifies as LGBT so they should not be treated any differently than anyone else, is my personal belief. We’re are all human beings and have a right to be treated with respect. Their lifestyle is their lifestyle and as professionals we should keep our personal views and opinions away from our profession, because they have no place there. I do believe that he should have discussed his views in a different forum, rather than facebook. Striking him off the course is wrong. Having worked amongst social workers that have been practicising for years and when I hear the comments that I can only describe as prejudice, racist and stereotypical of black people than I would say other social workers need to be struck off the list because of their views, comments and offensive language, which they express openly in an office as they are the majority. They are white middle class, whilst there are just 2 black social workers, who are obviously the minority. I will not treat anyone differently based on race, religion, age, disability, class, gender, sexuality or ethnicity simple because those categories do not define a person as we are more than that.

  30. Timothy Shields March 11, 2016 at 1:43 am #

    I freely admit to not being a social worker or having any involvement in the field. I have come to this article as a result of a friends Facebook link.

    What I’ve discovered from this story and many of the comments is everything to confirm the stereo-type of social workers being left-wing, tofu-eating, liberal elitists. It re-enforces for me the very reason why the term “social services” should be feared by ordinary people. Social workers do not have your best interests at heart, but have a self-inflated view that they are ‘the way, the truth and the life’. Conform or be denied.

    There seems to be absolutely no self-awareness of the unintended irony and outright hypocrisy there is in condemning one of your own as having beliefs which are an “abomination” to you. Haven’t you just practised or condoned the exact same prejudice, bigotry & intolerance you have deemed makes Mr Ngole unfit to be a social worker? How will you treat those cases that bring you into contact with people who share Mr Ngole’s viewpoints or religious convictions (there are a significant number of them)? The answer would appear to be with blind prejudice & ruthless retribution. God help any family who has one of you as their social worker – or as I always suspected you were, government orthodoxy enforcers.

  31. Em March 11, 2016 at 4:30 am #

    There are many Christian Social Workers standing with you. I am one of them. Isaiah 54:17

  32. paul March 11, 2016 at 7:44 am #

    Sadly Felix misses the real issue, as did Kim. If she felt she could not undertake her job due to her own beliefs; she ought to have resigned and not make a political issue of it. For Felix to engage in this personal matter which Kim sought to gain support for shows a lack of insight. To say he can “act in a professional, kind and compassionate way when dealing with homosexuals” is demeaning to LGBT people, his use of terminology shows a lack of understanding. I doubt his ‘kindness’ and ‘compassion’ is what people want; it implies there is something wrong with them.
    A true Christian response from Kim would to have resigned from her post, giving her employer the reasons why (in private).
    Kim has to obey the law of tha land; which had approved the rights of same sex couples to marry. If she could not fulfill that task, she would have to resign. The law did not require her to marry a same sex partner; merely respect those who chose to do so.

  33. Diyan March 11, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    What happened to civil liberties, freedom of speech, or we live in Russia now.

  34. Pearlene Webb March 11, 2016 at 11:41 am #

    I am appalled that you are justifying your views in Jesus’s name. You clearly have no insight into the fact that your views are judgemental and people don’t want to.hear it me including. I have been a social wotker for 25 years and am also a mother of six my youngest son is gay. Like you I once held similar views in my previous life as a Jehovah’s witness but as a I watched my son grow up I knew in my heart that he was gay and I knew that I could never disown my child because of who he is. disown my child of ho https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1142387065801314&id=848464815193542

  35. Msthang March 11, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    Felix is entitled to his own opinion and it doesn’t not mean that he will not respect other people’s decisions and choices. Give him a chance to proof that he can still be professional when doing his job as a Social Worker. I believe that when he helps his clients he will make decisions based on the client’s needs not on his beliefs. No one should be forced to agree with other people’s choices and beliefs. He is not even descriminating please understand his belief too.

    • Christopher April 5, 2016 at 11:47 am #

      Excuse me, but what ‘choices’ are you referring too. Sexuality is an aspect of personhood and entirely unconnected to choice or belief.

      Whatever, someone’s faith there can be no hierarchy of discrimination. If you consider some sections of society to be ‘abominations’ social work may not be the career for you.

      Are LGBT people less entitled to freedom from discrimination because of others’ faith? No

      I wish Felix well, but a more compassionate and placatory tone may have helped his cause.

  36. Nell March 11, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

    I deplore the attitude that loving Jesus is a reason to be bigotted. Religion should be a private matter in social work as should politics – although I will admit that my own bias is towards a socialist atheist or agnostic on the rounds that equality and fairness, openness of mind and spirit will therefore be on the agenda. Quite what you mean by a ‘homosexual lifestyle’ is beyond me. Sexuality is not a lifestyle choice – it is a choice about who you are in a relationship with, who you love. It is everyone’s right to choose that for themselves and is as basic a right as you can get. If I held snooty ideas about people from a particular race or class I would be failing as a social worker. Similarly, I am afraid you can’t square your private beliefs (expressed in a public forum) with your public duties as a social worker. Believe what you want, say what you think you need to say. But don’t expect to be able to carry on as though nothing has happened. Your old testament views have, unfortunately for you, brought down the wrath of the social work profession. And incidentally, Jesus did not preach against gay union. He simply did not.

  37. Tina Torrontes March 12, 2016 at 12:08 am #

    Not all that long ago, a lot of people thought mixed-race marriages shouldn’t be allowed, and many even claimed their religion justified this view. Whether they are claiming religious justification or not, would you accept racist bigots like that as social workers? Never.

    By the same principle that the profession excludes racist bigots, it must also exclude homophobic bigots too. As a profession, social work must never accept anyone who is prejudiced against any disadvantaged group. It is their duty to help ELIMINATE such prejudice, not to accept or promote it.

    You can’t pick and choose to fight some bigotries and let yourself think that others are “ok”.

  38. Chim March 12, 2016 at 2:43 am #

    Replace any reference to same sex relationships with interracial relationship or an aspect of being that cannot be changed, such as a disability, this makes it easier to see that the views of Felix are unfortunately judgemental and unsuitable for social work in my opinion. Which is probably how the decision of the university was made.

    I also do not believe that it has been conclusively proven that The Bible has a definitive position on same sex relationships and this is still a topic for debate. Given that the justification for denying others equity is based on interpretation of texts that have been translated from originals to fit the morales and values of those translating the text. Which was at a time where many prejudices would have influenced the way the translation would have been made several hundred years ago.

    The same book of the Bible mainly used to justify prejudice against same sex relationships also places similar weight on the use of mixed fibres and consumption of certain foods. There are few campaigns against the latter two, which reveals a prejudice and double standard in my view, which removes it from being a religious adherence to a demonstrable prejudice.

    The teachings of Jesus tend to be about acceptance and not passing judgement, as any judgement will be made by God, therefore such judgement should not be made at all surely. So unfortunately, for me it presents as a prejudice and to attempt to justify it as something from the Bible is a weak argument, especially when other aspects of the text are not interpreted literally. The progression of society and understanding means certain passages are passed by or taken as a symptom of the times they were written or translated.

    Several Bible passages relating to slave ownership exist and I’m sure were used to justify such practices 2-3 hundred years ago, but I doubt Fleix or anyone considering a career in social work, would use these passages now to justify not conducting an investigation into abuse and CSE if a young woman had been found to have been trafficked from central Africa to the UK to be exploited.

    Times change, society grows and in 100 years hopefully attitudes to same sex relationships will be the same as our present attitudes to slavery and interracial relationships.

    I personally find the fallback position of claiming religious discrimination weak and it tends to be used to justify personal prejudices, or views that have been formed through indoctrination from religious leaders who hold those prejudices. These views and values need to reflected on by those who hold them, why do you believe this and is it because the Bible tells you so? I’m not sure it explicitly does, though if I tried hard enough I could probably find a justification for making kittens hula hoop with sellotape rings because that mental image pleases me.

    Religious justification for views on same sex attraction are also based on the wrong assumption, that it is a choice made willingly. This again is a prejudice along the lines of a child having a disability due to the prior sins of the parents, rather than genetics. Imagine conducting an assessment of need on a child with a genetic disability and denying funding because the father committed adulatory? No one would do this or argue for it to be the case. Though there are passages in the Bible that could justify this, though our current societal values override any desire to seek such a justification

    Felix’s views have been formed through his interpretation of the Bible, he has further justified them by retrofitting the evidence he believes is in the Bible and claimed discrimination. Unfortunately, he has not used the critical skill of reflection to look at his values and why they may be wrong on this subject in the current society. I’m sure it is possible to find similar justification to support same sex relationships in the Bible. Certainly, if all humans are created in God’s image and are expressions of the divine, some people are born attracted to the same sex, this is God’s plan for them, do not judge others or you will be judged, would be a start at using the texts to justify the opposite. So there can be justification either way for acceptance or prejudice and unfortunately prejudice has no place in social work and to try to justify it is worse.

  39. Mick March 12, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    I accept the inevitable fact that there are going to be differences of opinion and accept and anticipate intolerance and persecution for the convictions I hold as a Christian but we will not bow under popular opinion and political correctness. It is apparent to me that any views held regardless are accepted bar the convictions of believing in God. I know Christians are being muzzled in the workplace and I am in agreement with Félix’s judgement that Christians who are in hiding need to come out and own up to their convictions. Perhaps like me as an African man we can all begin to prepare to return to our native lands and enjoy greater religious liberties. They have stopped us from disciplining our children, they’ve said its ok to kill a child in the womb and now they want to silence us altogether and so let us return to our homes and fight a different fight. I am sick and tired of Africans being treated as second class citizens and as if we will forever be subjected to the dominion of others. I’m not using the race card but the fact remains that if circumstances were favourable we would still be treated as slaves by some. Thank you for the likes of William Wilberforce for abolishing slavery and for acting on your Christian convictions.

  40. Kwadwo March 13, 2016 at 11:37 pm #

    So what will happen to a muslim social worker who does not agree with people drinking. Or the muslim and jewish social worker who think homosexuality is a sin and disagree with this lifestyle. Will they be kick out of the profession as well? I know of social workers disagree with people drinking but are professional enough to support people with alcohol problems and do not try to change them. I also know of Christian, Jewish and Muslim social workers who are out there supporting gay and lesbians whether in their housing or mental health issues and many other social problems, even though their religion consider homosexuality as sin. If these people were to tell you they are muslims or jews would you throw them out of the profession as well. I sincerely hope that this case has more to it than what is reported here, otherwise I fear for anyone with a view.