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Christian bigot will continue to serve as a town councillor

Christian bigot will continue to serve as a town councillor

Last month the Bible-thumping Mayor of Ferryhill in County Durham – Richard Smith – was forced to resign over anti-gay and anti-Muslim social media posts. But, to the delight of the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), he is being allowed to retain his post as a town councillor.

Smith, a pastor, was propelled into the spotlight after a number of activists, led by local drag queen “Tess Tickle”, campaigned for his removal over posts on his personal Facebook account.

Eight formal complaints were made to Durham County Council, alleging that Mr Smith’s posts were:

Homophobic, transphobic, extremist, [and stirred up] hatred against persons on the basis of protected characteristics.

According to the CLC, A further complaint accused Smith of dishonesty relating to the distribution of food to the needy by Immanuel Christian Fellowship, of which he is a trustee.

Having received support from the Christian Legal Centre, Mr Smith has had all of these complaints dismissed by Durham County Council. Regarding the complaints about his social media posts, the decision points out that:

• Mr Smith has the right to freedom of expression, as expressed in articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights
• Many of the posts were made prior to his election as a town councillor
• None of his posts were made in his official capacity as a councillor or as mayor

The complaint alleging dishonesty provided no supporting evidence of its claims and no official complaints have been made to Greggs or Immanuel Christian Fellowship about the distribution of food.

In his response to the complaints, Smith argued that the allegations were “damaging to his integrity” and politically motivated, following the first change in the balance of power in the town council for 118 years. He  said:

I’m grateful that the council has recognised my right to freely express my Christian faith while remaining a town councillor.

My faith in Christ is what drives me to help people regardless of their faith, disability, colour, culture, sexuality, or political persuasion. I have never let the convictions of my faith dictate who receives my help or the help from the church. I’ve always been motivated by the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus, a love that is full of mercy and grace.

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

We are delighted to have supported Richard – a caring and compassionate man, full of conviction and ideal for public service. He never should have been hounded out of his position as mayor, but we’re pleased that he can continue to serve the public as a town councillor.

11 responses to “Christian bigot will continue to serve as a town councillor”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    Is it just me, or does Richard Smith bear more than a passing resemblance to another swivel-eyed christian loon?

    http://pool.cream.org/blog/green.jpg

  2. Angela_K says:

    As this bigot’s views are now very public, we can hope the decent people of County Durham will vote him out.
    Thanks for the pictures of Andrea shit-for-brains Williams as a reminder of just how deranged this woman is.

  3. Frank says:

    “My faith in Christ is what drives me to help people regardless of their faith, disability, colour, culture, sexuality, or political persuasion”.

    Surely that’s untrue. A lie. Or am I missing something?

  4. L.Long says:

    NO Preacher should be allowed in public service!!!
    Don’t pay taxes can’t play in the game!!!

  5. Stephen Pollard says:

    It is now almost a given that anyone who attracts the support of the CLC is going to be on the wrong side of public opinion, common decency, and quite often the law.

    This fellow is a dick. He is clearly unfit to be Mayor of Trumpton, let alone a real council. He seems to have avoided being dismissed from his post as Councillor; but the bar is set pretty low in such cases. Let’s see what His electorate think at the next election.

  6. StephenJP says:

    It is now almost a given that anyone who attracts the support of the CLC is going to be on the wrong side of public opinion, common decency, and quite probably the law.

    This fellow is a dick. He is unfit to be Mayor of Trumpton, let alone a real council. He seems to have survived as a Councillor, but the bar is set pretty low in such cases. Let’s see what his electorate think at the next election.

  7. 1859 says:

    A private individual should not be hounded or in anyway persecuted if they choose to believe in something we don’t. But if a public individual holding a public office uses their position to promote their beliefs, that should be mercilessly condemned. Let’s hope this worthy councillor has learnt his lesson.Personally I’d prefer to have Tess Tickle as my councillor.

  8. Jim Baerg says:

    “Biblical views on…Islam”
    Given when the various books of the Bible were written & when Islam was founded, how can there *be* Biblical views on Islam?

  9. phhht says:

    Richard Smith is a religious loony. He advocates the reality of things which do not exist.

    Go ahead, you poor loon, demonstrate the reality of a god.

  10. Broga says:

    Another assessment from scientists that the world is wrecked but still has a last chance to turn back from disaster. I don’t believe that myself because we are all subject to religious nutters like that clown and they are in positions of influence. Fools paradise doesn’t begin to describe what millions now inhabit.

  11. Brian Jordan says:

    @1851
    I think it would be best if anyone attaining public office immediately closed their Twitter and Facebook accounts for the duration and saved their personal opinions for the pub.

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