Secular madness – it’s not over yet

Although I’m as repelled by fanatics as anyone, I’m pretty sure justice has been done by allowing Caroline Petrie to go back to work. Her suspension was using a jackhammer to crack a nut. Would it have happened without the outcry in her favour, I wonder? The charge against her was truly Orwellian – who says citizens must show commitment to equality and diversity as distinct from obeying the law? But the controversy aint over. Note that it’s the trade and not the religious press that expresses fresh concerns about the guidelines – which leaves the issue in limbo.

Fresh concerns have been raised by statements in the document entitled Religion or Belief: A Practical Guide for the NHS.

It states: “To avoid misunderstandings and complaints on this issue, it should be made clear to everyone from the first day of training and/or employment, and regularly restated, that such behaviour, notwithstanding religious beliefs, could be construed as harassment under the disciplinary and grievance procedures.”

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London