In a council meeting on Oct. 26, British councilman King Lawal was reinstated to his position on the North Northamptonshire Unitary Council after being suspended since July for a tweet expressing his Biblical view on “pride.”
After his own Conservative Party suspended him, several other organizations on which he served as a council member or trustee also removed him from his positions.
Lawal called the ordeal a “horrific” experience and said he was relieved to be reinstated.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said Lawal’s reinstatement was a step in the road toward justice for him. “Sanity in this part of King’s case has thankfully prevailed,” she remarked. “We will continue to stand with Cllr. Lawal until his reputation and all his public positions are fully restored.” Lawal challenged the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) to support him, and he called on the other organizations that had canceled and removed him to apologize and allow him to return to his positions.
On June 29, after seeing a news thread that revealed naked men exposing themselves in the street and in front of children at an LGBTQ pride event, Lawal tweeted: “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. #PrideMonth #Pride23 #PrideParade.”
Expressing his Biblical view brought considerable backlash. In the days following the tweet, after pressure from the CCHQ in Westminster, Lawal was suspended from the Northamptonshire Unitary Council. He was also dismissed as a trustee for Groundwork Northampton, a nonprofit which helps underprivileged children to access green spaces; removed as governor for Northampton Healthcare Foundation Trust; suspended as a council member at an academy; and banned from holding consultations with people in the community at a local library.
Lawal was also warned of a possible police investigation for hate crime and, under pressure that was potentially illegal, he was forced to resign from a company he had worked to build. A local authority that had a substantial contract with the company said the contract would be withdrawn immediately unless Lawal was removed from his role as a director of the company.
Lawal is not the only council member who has suffered from this incident. In August, councilman Anthony Stevens was arrested in his home for alleged hate crimes after sharing a tweet in support of Lawal, as well as for a tweet criticizing the police for their treatment of a street preacher. Stevens was searched and detained in front of his wife and children, his phone was confiscated, and he was kept in a cell for the day as police questioned him about the tweets. When stories of the incident began to appear in the media, he received a letter from Detective Inspector Mark Hopkinson from the Criminal Investigation department which sought to keep Stevens from speaking to the media about his arrest. Stevens is receiving support from the Christian Legal Centre, which sent a letter back explaining that Stevens “will not be intimidated.”
According to Christian Concern, the treatment of King Lawal is similar to that of several other recent legal cases involving Christians, but the pace and extent of Lawal’s mistreatment is unprecedented and reflects “an escalation of viewpoint discrimination, especially against Christians, in U.K. society.”
Lawal has repeatedly emphasized the danger of the threat to free speech, not only for himself but for all of those in the UK who value freedom of speech and religion. “It is now almost impossible to say something Biblically truthful on sexual ethics in U.K. society without being cancelled and having your life ruined,” he said. “How I have been treated is really troubling for a democratic society. It must ring alarm bells as this can now happen to anyone that is not in support of this extreme LGBT movement.”
Photo: Christian Concern