A Christian school worker who was fired for anti-LGBT+ Facebook posts is heading back to court to insist she was the victim of “religious discrimination”.
Kristie Higgs was a pastoral assistant at Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire, for seven years before she was fired in January 2019.
The school decided she should be dismissed for gross misconduct after an anonymous complaint alleged that she had been making “homophobic and prejudiced” Facebook posts.
Last year, Higgs brought a challenge against the school with help from the Christian Legal Centre, an offshoot of the anti-LGBT lobbying group Christian Concern, and argued at an employment tribunal that she had been a victim of religious discrimination.
However, employment judge Derek Reed dismissed the case, and affirmed that Higgs was sacked for making “homophobic and transphobic” comments, not for being a Christian.
Now, the former school worker has been granted permission to appeal.
According to Christian Today, Employment Appeal Tribunal judge James Tayler said on Tuesday (13 July): “This appeal potentially raises important issues on the approach to be adopted by the Tribunals to manifestation and expression of beliefs.”
In a statement, Higgs doubled down and said she was “delighted” to return to court because she wants “young children to be protected from this harmful ideology”.
Kristie Higgs said children were being ‘brainwashed’ by learning about LGBT+ people
In one of her Facebook posts in 2018, Kristie Higgs discussed the introduction of compulsory Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in UK schools and wrote: “THEY ARE BRAINWASHING OUR CHILDREN!”
She said that compulsory RSE “means, for example, that children will be taught that all relationships are equally valid and ‘normal’, so that same-sex marriage is exactly the same as traditional marriage, and that gender is a matter of choice, so that it’s up to them what sex they are”.
She continued: “At the same time it means that expressing and teaching fundamental Christian beliefs, relating to the creation of men and women and marriage, will in practice become forbidden – because they conflict with the new morality and are seen as indoctrination into unacceptable religious bigotry.
“Which means that freedom of belief will be destroyed, with freedom of speech permitted only for those who toe the party line!
“We say again, this is a vicious form of totalitarianism aimed at suppressing Christianity and removing it from the public arena.”
She linked to a petition to “stop supporting LGBT indoctrination”.
To be clear, compulsory RSE came into effect in September 2020, although schools were given flexibility in introducing it due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Guidelines state that every primary school child must learn about different types of families, including those with same-sex parents, and secondary school students must be taught about sexual orientation and gender identity. It has not yet resulted in the destruction of freedom of belief.