Christian inmate claims it took threat of legal action for NHS Trust to provide Sunday services

Jul 31, 2019 by

from Christian Today:

A convicted rapist who became a Christian in prison has claimed that repeated requests for Sunday worship services were only granted after the threat of legal action.

Freddie O’Neil, 57, said he decided to “take a stand” against the John Howard Centre, in Homerton, after finding upon his transfer to the secure unit in January 2018 that there were no Sunday services for Christians.

He said he relied upon the services “for my physical, emotional and spiritual well-being”.

He claimed that he was a victim of religious discrimination after his requests for the services were reportedly turned down, despite Muslim inmates being allowed Friday prayers.

The East London Foundation Trust (ELFT), which runs the centre, denies religious discrimination.

The Christian Legal Centre (CLC) took up his case and wrote to the centre on his behalf, advising that Mr O’Neil needed to attend Christian services on Sunday and receive Holy Communion.

The CLC said that the denial of these services was “wholly inappropriate and disturbing to already vulnerable patients”.

Initially, the CLC says that the Trust responded by providing a spiritualist and psychic to conduct the services and Holy Communion for Mr O’Neil. It said, however, that the spiritualist’s beliefs “could not be considered as representing orthodox Christianity”.

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