Archbishop defends Christian who faces sack

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The Archbishop of York has waded into a row surrounding a Devon receptionist who is facing the sack for asking a church for prayer support.

Jennie Cain, a receptionist at Landscore Primary School in Crediton, e-mailed her friends asking for their prayers when her daughter was told off for talking about God and heaven during a lesson at the school.

Mrs Cain was told she was being investigated for professional misconduct for allegedly making claims against Landscore Primary School and its staff, after head teacher Gary Read got hold of the private e-mail.

The Archbishop of York said intolerance towards Christians in the workplace was an "affront" and urged believers to stand up for their faith.

Writing in the Daily Mail, John Sentamu referred to the case of Mrs Cain and pointed to "a seeming intolerance and illiberality" in the public sector towards faith in God.

He also referred to the case of nurse Caroline Petrie, who last week was allowed back to work after she was suspended for two months for offering to pray for a patient.

But Archbishop Sentamu said it was "not only unacceptable but an affront" for public servants to use their authority to deny the legitimacy of the Christian faith when the religion had given them those powers under the constitution.

He said: "Those employed as public servants and charged with running our local services, be they schools, hospitals or councils, receive their public authority only under a system of governance which is constitutionally established from the 'Queen in Parliament under God'."

Asking someone to leave their faith at the door of their workplace was "akin to asking them to remove their skin colour before coming into the office", he said.

He added: "For those who despair at the treatment meted out to these Christian women, the message is clear: wake up, Christian England!"