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Sunday 12 June 2011

Christianity Under Attack – Or Maybe Not

First there was Colin Atkinson and his palm cross, with hacks and snappers pushing their way into the offices of Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) and poring over the firm’s staff car park. Atkinson claimed he was in line for the sack; WDH vehemently denied the suggestion. More recently, GP Richard Scott claimed he was about to be “struck off” after telling some visitors to his surgery “that faith in Jesus could give comfort and strength”.

Now we have another example of Christianity supposedly being under attack, with mental health worker Margaret Forrester losing her job following a row over her showing a colleague a pamphlet titled Forsaken. The Maily Telegraph headline leaves no doubt as to what has happened: “Christian sacked after abortion leaflet row”.

But let’s look briefly at the pamphlet at the centre of the article. Forsaken is apparently a charity (website HERE) which is promoting a book about the effects of “post abortion syndrome”. This is a term used by “pro-life” campaigners, and the condition is not recognised by mainstream medicine.

Richard Bartholomew, who majors in matters religious, has looked into Forsaken and noted that its author is a homegroup leader at a “charismatic” evangelical church in Taunton. The book has also been quoted by – yes, it’s her again – MP Nadine Dorries in the Commons. Dorries, it is noted, is close to Christian Concern For Our Nation, whose “Not Ashamed” campaign includes among its supporters Colin Atkinson, and thus we come full circle.

Back at the Margaret Forrester case, the Telegraph piece makes clear the identity of the bad guys: “politically correct” bureaucrats who see Christians as “an easy target”. What is not told is that she was putting forward to her colleagues a pamphlet describing a condition which is not an accepted part of the mainstream. Small wonder that her managers were unhappy.

But she was not sacked for that: transferred to a new role, Ms Forrester refused to come into work. This is conceded in the Telegraph article. So once more we have a “Christianity under attack” headline that is not supported by the available evidence. And another example of how the Telegraph has ceased to be a paper of record, and has joined the Mail in pursuing agenda driven journalism.

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