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Court says Christians don't keep Sunday special for it to be protected

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Celestina Mba, a Christian children’s worker, has been told by an Employment Appeals Tribunal that her employer was justified in refusing to permit her not to work on a Sunday.

In passing the ruling, Mr Justice Langstaff held that Sunday was not a ‘core’ component of the Christian faith because some Christians would be prepared to work on a Sunday; and therefore Christians as a whole do not need Sunday protected.


Before Celestina began working for Brightwell Children’s Home in London, she agreed with her employers that she would not work on Sundays in accordance with her Christian beliefs.

The Tribunal expressly found that Ms Mba thought that she genuinely believed that her religious position would be accommodated in full when she accepted the position in 2007.

However, the Council changed the arrangement soon after she started the job, saying that the arrangement was temporary, forcing her to choose between her job and her Christian observance.

Celestina tried hard to make things work and said she would be happy to accept less pay or to work night or Saturday shifts. The Council chose not to accept these offers, forcing Ms Mba to resign.


This continues a trend where we are seeing secular Courts ruling on ‘core’ components of Christian practice. 

This is a very concerning Judgment and is another example of the undermining of the Christian faith from the public square by the political and judicial elites. The Courts have acted to protect the Kara bracelet, Afro ‘Cornrow haircuts’, the wearing of the Hijab and a Muslim’s right to fast, but have refused to grant protection to the Cross, the Christian Sunday and Christian purity rings.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said:

“As we reflect on Christmas, the Queen’s speech and a national census that continues to demonstrate our identity as a Christian nation, we may ask why our ruling elite seems ready to undermine all that most of us hold dear. 

“The Court, in this case, created an unrealistic test which means that people like Celestina who wish to respect Sunday as a day of rest and worship  will be forced out of the workplace. The Court seems to be requiring a significant number of adherents of the Christian faith to observe a particular practice before the Court is willing to accept and protect the practice. 

“In the past year we have seen mandatory tests of faith in relation to the wearing of crosses by Christians, belief about marriage between a man and a woman and now observing the Sabbath when in all cases reasonable accommodation could have been made. Such tests do not appear to be similarly applied to Muslims who are permitted to wear the hijab and observe prayers and Sikhs with the kara bracelet. 

“As the Government presses ahead with the redefinition of marriage perhaps the Courts will inform us what percentage of Christians need to believe marriage is between a man and woman before they will protect us?”

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