Sarah Mbuyi was a nursery nurse, with a lesbian colleague. She calls herself “born again”, and imagines she knows Jesus. Her God is deeply concerned about silly rules, and one of these is No Queers. She tried to evangelise her lesbian colleague, and gave her a gift of a Bible. She gave another co-worker a book explaining some of her noxious “Christian” ideas.
On 6 January 2014 Mbuyi and her victim who wishes to be anonymous- let us call her Claire- had a conversation about what they did over Christmas. Mbuyi told of some of her church activities and Claire said that must have been nice for someone from Belgium, to have the church acting as an extended family. The conversation moved on to whether Claire might attend, but Claire would not until her marriage was recognised by the church. Mbuyi told her homosexuality was a sin, but that everyone is a sinner.
So while Mbuyi told her being lesbian would not be a bar to attending the church, it is clear that Claire would be expected to cease this sin very very quickly, and separate from her partner. From a state of self-acceptance and mature partnership she would be plunged into self-loathing, maintained by the manipulative “love” of her church.
Mbuyi, though she imagines herself loving, is a homophobe. She has an obligation to apply common sense and empathy to the many vilenesses of her church. She has failed to do so. She is filled with the congealed homophobia of generations of bigots: the sins of the fathers are visited on the children to the tenth generation.
Claire, brought up Catholic, has imbibed homophobia throughout her childhood, and though now in a mature partnership she is exquisitely attuned to the homophobia of others. Perhaps that would be better as an “I” statement: I have only very recently been able to endure homophobic or transphobic comments, because they have echoed in myself, in my internalised transphobia, or self-hatred. This very self-hatred can be exultantly welcomed by the “Christian” homophobe, using it as more evidence of my Sin- for how could I be uncomfortable with myself, unless God was calling me to self-loathing? LP was so upset by the conversation her manager sent her home.
Mbuyi is therefore toxic to anyone around her, unconsciously preying on their insecurities to bring them to her own slavery.
However the Human Rights convention gives freedom of religion, which must include the right to state ones beliefs when they come up in the ordinary course of conversation. Though the employer seeks to provide a welcoming environment to all, including the children of gay couples, it could not sack Mbuyi for her belief. She is protected under the Equality Act.
Mbuyi and her legal representatives, Christian Concern, have been exulting on daytime television about their freedom to hurt others, and claiming to be victims. I take my account of fact from the tribunal decision.