A Christian local government councillor in England has been reinstated four months after being suspended over a social media comment. At the end of Pride Month in June, Councillor King Lawal tweeted that pride is “a sin, not a virtue,” following revelations of alleged inappropriate behaviour during the event.
The Christian Post reports he was reinstated to the local UK Conservative Party branch as he was preparing to sue the North Northamptonshire Council for multiple violations of his rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. He faced a potential police investigation for hate crimes and was forced to resign from his family business by a local authority which threatened to cancel a contract. Councillor Lawal was also cut off by several other organisations including the Conservative Party which pressured the council to expel him. He’s vowed to pursue all legal actions until “his reputation and all his public positions are fully restored.”
During the council meeting at which he was reinstated, the councillor said: “The tweet was an expression of my Christian faith by quoting passages from the Bible. This was an exercise in free speech. My intention in posting the tweet was not to cause harassment, alarm, or distress to any person or persons.” The 16 Labour Party councillors stood in protest during his address. The Conservative Party dominates the Council with 55 of the 78 councillors.
Following his reinstatement, King Lawal expressed relief, but underlined the perilous state of free speech in the UK, especially concerning religious and moral viewpoints. “As the only black councillor in the whole of Northamptonshire, I know what it is like to be in the minority, and I would never discriminate against anyone. How I have been treated is really troubling for a democratic society,” he asserted. He called on Conservative Party Campaign Headquarters to support him, describing the ordeal as “horrific” for him and his family. He also called on other organisations that had revoked his positions to apologise for their actions.
As a Bible-believing Christian he was prompted to post his views after seeing naked men illegally parading through streets in front of children during pride events. He felt convicted to speak out because he believed what was happening was wrong and ‘sinful,’ so in a rare post, he wrote:
‘When did Pride become a thing to celebrate. Because of Pride Satan fell as an arch Angel. Pride is not a virtue but a Sin. Those who have Pride should Repent of their sins and return to Jesus Christ. He can save you.
His post included an image citing Isaiah 3:9 stating that Whatever God calls “Sin” is nothing to be Proud of.
He was immediately suspended as a councillor pending an investigation, allegedly on the advice of the membership governance team at Conservative Party Campaign HQ. By the time he deleted the tweet, it was too late to stop the fallout. He was cancelled by seven organisations and warned of a police investigation.
Christian Concern reports a local authority which had a substantial council contract with his family business, gave the company a legal ultimatum that unless he was removed immediately as a director, the contract would be withdrawn. The council also threatened snap reviews and inspections of the business by council monitoring teams. Councillor Lawal was forced to resign from the company which he had built and grown. Only a week earlier, he had sat with members of the council at an awards ceremony where the work of the company was praised.
He was dismissed as a trustee of Groundwork Northampton which helps disadvantaged children access green spaces. He was also suspended as an Academy Council member for a local school; removed as a Governor of a healthcare trust; and banned from holding a joint police and council advisory meeting at a library. The councillor said he received many calls from supporters who said they agreed with what he had tweeted, but most were too fearful to publicly back him. Some Christians did rally beside him as he publicly campaigned to be reinstated.
Christian Concern declared: “The repercussions faced by Councillor Lawal are unprecedented, demonstrating that Christians who hold public office can no longer express their beliefs without having their careers and lives dismantled.” The Christian Legal Centre which is representing the councillor called his treatment “brutal.” Chief executive Andrea Williams observed at the height of the campaign against him: “The pace at which he has been effectively removed from public life is disturbing as he has been democratically elected and undemocratically cancelled.” She added it is a clear case of viewpoint discrimination against a standard expression of Christian belief.
“Where is ‘diversity,’ ‘tolerance’ and ‘inclusion’ here? We have only a monoculture which requires approval, allegiance and promotion of LGBTQ+ pride no matter what. Local authorities, schools and even libraries cannot be allowed to discriminate against and exclude Christians and their beliefs under the increasingly draconian and oppressive banner of ‘inclusivity,’” Ms. Williams declared.
The councillor said at the time of his ‘cancellation’: “I have diligently represented all my constituents; however, I must also be free to express my beliefs without fear. The blunt emails and cancellations I received were shocking and hurtful. There was no respect, no conversation and no reasonableness. How I have been treated is really troubling for a democratic society. It must ring alarm bells and should concern everybody who cares about Christian freedoms and free speech as this can now happen to anyone that is not in support of this extreme LGBT movement. It is now almost impossible to say something biblically truthful on sexual ethics in UK society without being cancelled and having your life ruined.”