Christian NHS worker who gave a book to Muslim co-worker loses her appeal

Judge Jennifer Jane Eady, Queens Counsel
Judge Jennifer Jane Eady, Queens Counsel

The UK Telegraph reports on the state of religious liberty in the United Kingdom.


A Christian NHS worker suspended for giving a religious book to a Muslim colleague has lost her appeal against a ruling that the decision to discipline her was lawful.

Victoria Wasteney, 39, was found guilty by her NHS employer in 2014 of “harassing and bullying” a work friend for giving her a book about a Muslim woman’s encounter with Christianity, praying with her and asking her to church.

She was suspended for nine months and given a written warning, even though the woman had been happy to discuss faith with her and never gave evidence about her allegations to the NHS.

Ms Wasteney, a senior occupational therapist, challenged the decision by East London NHS Foundation Trust at an employment tribunal last year, but it ruled that her employer had not discriminated against her.

A judge gave her the chance to appeal against that decision, saying it should consider whether the original ruling had correctly applied the European Convention on Human Rights’ strong protection of freedom of religion and expression.

But at a hearing in central London on Thursday, Her Honour Judge Eady QC dismissed the appeal.

Following the decision, Miss Wasteney, from Epping, Essex, said: “What the court clearly failed to do was to say how, in today’s politically correct world, any Christian can even enter into a conversation with a fellow employee on the subject of religion and not, potentially, later end up in an employment tribunal.

“If someone sends you friendly text messages, how is one to know that they are offended? I had no idea that I was upsetting her.”

[…]The woman, who quit her job shortly after making the complaints, never gave any evidence about her allegations to the NHS or later to the employment tribunal.

It sounded to me like the Muslim woman encouraged the Christian woman and the Christian woman was later surprised by the complaints. I think most Christians can take no for an answer, but Christians are caring, and they see offering to pray and offering to bring someone to church as a caring thing to do. If they don’t hear a no, then they keep right on doing what comes naturally to Christians – talking about spiritual things and trying to lead others to the Lord.

It was much easier to do this in the past, before people got more concerned about not feeling offended than they were about discussing what is or is not true. So now, even in a country like England, you can be anything you want to be as long as you’re not behaving like a Christian in public. I think this is especially the case when the people who adjudicate these cases are more focused on feelings… the person who feels the most offended seems to win all the time.

Before I had an alias, I had experience dealing with co-workers who did not much like me talking about spiritual things at work. Some types of people are more risky than others, I’ve found. That’s when I started to make rules based on my experiences, about who was and who was not safe to talk to. And that’s when I decided that to really say what I wanted to say, I’d have to get an alias, and not tell too many co-workers about it.

So who is dangerous? Obviously, people who are committed to a sinful lifestyle already are dangerous to talk to. I don’t talk to people about anything interesting if they are committed to a sinful lifestyle, because they will feel obligated to discuss issues defensively, rather than in a truth-focused way. I also avoid people who are more focused on feelings, family and community above truth. They tend to be more focused on feeling good and getting along, and they are the worst people to disagree with. The safest people are people who like to argue about what is true, and who respond to evidence.

So how to detect who is safe? Well, If the person talks about themselves a lot, and about their feelings, and happy experiences, and their vacations, their families and popular culture fluff, then I would avoid them. Don’t say a word to them. The ones who are safer are the ones who accept disagreements and don’t just rush to agree with you while hiding their own opinions in order to be liked. You also want to avoid people who take everything personally, instead of debating the outside world with a focus on what is true.

I am terrified of people who try to agree with me on everything, or who cannot explain both sides of an issue respectfully. I watch what people watch on TV in the gym – if it’s sports, housewives of beverly hills, or other shallow life enhancement fluff, then I don’t talk to them. If it’s news or business, then it’s safer to talk to them – because then you can talk about facts. Beware of people who try to jump to agreement quickly, without showing any evidence or reasons for their view. It’s always better to talk about issues in the abstract, rather than offering to pray or asking someone to church. For example, you can discuss whether the universe had a beginning, or which books of the Bible were written early. Christians need to learn how to do that – how to talk about facts.

A good question to ask to test a person is to ask where they get their news. If there is no balance there, then it’s a good sign to avoid them. Two of my leftist co-workers this week asked me why I thought that the Washington Post and the New York Times were “radically leftist”. I asked them to name conservative columnists at either paper. They couldn’t name a single one. One tried to google it right in front of me! I named Arthur Brooks, Ross Douthat, Jennifer Rubin, etc. and explained why they weren’t conservative. Then I listed off a half-dozen liberal names at the Washington Post. If the person you are talking to is in a bubble, then they are too risky to talk to. Pretty much everyone on the secular left is that way, and you should check first by seeing what they read for news. If they’re not safe, then get yourself an alias and write something online, instead.

6 thoughts on “Christian NHS worker who gave a book to Muslim co-worker loses her appeal”

  1. This is sad. :(

    Hmmmm… I’m not sure that I agree with all your recommendations.

    I agree that some people are not as safe to talk to about these things as others. But I think we should rather consider HOW we approach such people, rather than writing them off as not to be spoken to.

    I would actually encourage people to use the methods outlined by Paul Copan in “Tactics”. Especially the Columbo method. You get *them* to do the talking by asking questions. Copan’s book rocks. :) (I remember that you got it for me.)

    Sometimes we just have to take risks for the Gospel. It’s more important than our safety. But we have to speak kindly, wisely, and in a measured, unemotional way. Otherwise we are taking unnecessary risks and probably not getting through to our listeners anyway.

    I recently was at a birthday party where a liberal feminist was spreading blatantly false information about the early Church. It was difficult, and I think my nervousness may have showed, but I spoke up and said I had heard about this theory (I had) and it was a misrepresentation of what the evidence actually said. And then I went on about the Greek words used by Paul in the NT, etc. I doubt that I will have changed her mind, although she seemed subdued, but there were others listening who I think might easily have been mislead by her confidence and apparent “knowledge” if I hadn’t said anything. I tried to say it nicely so as not to mess up my friend’s birthday party, but it had to be said.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree on your point about anonymity, but there are times when I’m at a social gather and I can’t verbally (and logically) smacking a leftist around and helping them make fools out of themselves. They just get too smug and I feel obligated to correct them.

    EXCEPT, I don’t argue with them, I take their “arguments” (which are really just their emotional reactions to whether something will make them popular or not) and I amplify them to their logical conclusions.

    A leftist will tell me that “free” mandatory single-payer healthcare is a good idea. I agree and amplify that we should have “free” mandatory single-payer grocery stores for every American. Imagine all the “savings” the consumer would enjoy by not having 30 different cereals to choose from in the grocery store. We could get rid of competing grocery stores and “save” money on competing advertising budgets. In fact, the government should eliminate “food inequality” by mandating an identical diet plan for everyone. It could be delivered to your home every day by the Postal Service. Who needs choices, after all, the government clearly knows what we should eat.

    The trick is to “amplify” their point in COMPLETE sincerity. I say it with the same fervor and enthusiasm as they claim to believe in Obamacare.

    When they try to disagree with me I slyly insinuate that they’re really racists and they’re an enemy of “real equality” and the only reason they don’t want everyone to have “free” mandatory government-run grocery stores is because they hate poor black people who can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods.

    Most leftists don’t have ANY IDEA what to do with it when they’re the ones trying to defend normalcy, in the face of the logical extension of their own ridiculous, outlandish, in humane, freedom-destroying ideas.

    To make it complete, I let them squirm and feel uncomfortable and I never let on that I’m kidding. Even if I’m only planting a seed that blossoms in ten or fifteen years, I find there’s very little as satisfying as wiping that smug grin off their faces by using their own tactics against them. And, frankly, I’ve had acquaintances on whom I inflicted this discomfort approach me 5 years later and confess to me that my conversation with them changed their minds.

  3. rubyswirl,

    You make a good point. Often times the best strategy is to try to sway the listening crowd, not the opposing speaker. The outspoken activist is often times too close minded to be swayed.

  4. From another news source on this same story;

    “The woman, who quit her job shortly after making the complaints, never gave any evidence about her allegations to the NHS or later to the employment tribunal.”

    The complainer did not have evidence. Seems to me, the booklet would have been evidence and she quit her job. Kind of ironic is it not.

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