UK government: Christians do not have right to wear a cross at work

Tom sent me this article from the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Christians do not have a right to wear a cross or crucifix openly at work, the Government is to argue in a landmark court case.

In a highly significant move, ministers will fight a case at the European Court of Human Rights in which two British women will seek to establish their right to display the cross.

It is the first time that the Government has been forced to state whether it backs the right of Christians to wear the symbol at work.

A document seen by The Sunday Telegraph discloses that ministers will argue that because it is not a “requirement” of the Christian faith, employers can ban the wearing of the cross and sack workers who insist on doing so.

[…]The Government’s refusal to say that Christians have a right to display the symbol of their faith at work emerged after its plans to legalise same-sex marriages were attacked by the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Britain.

A poll commissioned by The Sunday Telegraph shows that the country is split on the issue.

Overall, 45 per cent of voters support moves to allow gay marriage, with 36 per cent against, while 19 per cent say they do not know.

However, the Prime Minister is out of step with his own party.

Exactly half of Conservative voters oppose same-sex marriage in principle and only 35 per cent back it.

There is no public appetite to change the law urgently, with more than three quarters of people polled saying it was wrong to fast-track the plan before 2015 and only 14 per cent saying it was right.

The Strasbourg case hinges on whether human rights laws protect the right to wear a cross or crucifix at work under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

It states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”

The Christian women bringing the case, Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin, claim that they were discriminated against when their employers barred them from wearing the symbols.

They want the European Court to rule that this breached their human right to manifest their religion.

The Government’s official response states that wearing the cross is not a “requirement of the faith” and therefore does not fall under the remit of Article 9.

Lawyers for the two women claim that the Government is setting the bar too high and that “manifesting” religion includes doing things that are not a “requirement of the faith”, and that they are therefore protected by human rights.

They say that Christians are given less protection than members of other religions who have been granted special status for garments or symbols such as the Sikh turban and kara bracelet, or the Muslim hijab.

I think that many of the people in the UK who push for the marginalization of religion from society are probably the same people who decry the decline of moral standards. It is a secularist fantasy that people will act as they ought to act when people think that there is no way that the universe ought to be. The UK is self-destructing because they are cutting themselves off from the ground of morality, and one of the pillars of Western Civilization.

10 thoughts on “UK government: Christians do not have right to wear a cross at work”

  1. If the secularists have to get that totalitarian then they’re clearly feeling very threatened and very insecure about what they believe. Will they ban the little Darwin fish and the A for atheism signs too? Nah, I didn’t think so…

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  2. This depends on the job. Don’t know about now, but when I started my nursing training in 1967, we were not allowed to wear anything round our neck on a chain. The reason being that senile or drunk patients can use the chain to try to choke the nurse. Anywhere else I’ve worked, I’ve been allowed to wear it. One shop I worked in was run by Hindus, the wife told me off one morning because I had overslept and didn’t get round to putting on my crucifix. When I worked in a factory when I had to give up nursing for health reasons I was asked to put my crucifix inside my top, but it was explained why. Not because it was a crucifix, but because if it was dangling outside it might get caught in the machinary.

    The majority of work though has no reason for banning the wearing of the crucifix. I hope these women can show that some of the other workers have something dangling from a chain round their neck.

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    1. Get real Kelsonus I remember something similar happening in America a year or two ago (some time ago so don’t remember the details). Priests arrested in Washington for praying outside the seat of Government, can’t pray round the flag before school. it is just as bad there, so take your head out of the sand and face reality. America in some cases is worse than UK. A lot of our schools in UK have after school clubs run by local churches. From bits and pieces I’ve read in different papers, I don’t think it would be allowed there now in many states. New York even tried to stop churches to use school buildings for worship on sunday, but that was overturned.

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    2. Don’t know how long you are going to be able to claim that Kel.
      America has its fair share of religious persecution and its getting worse. It will not be long before we are arrested for sharing the gospel because someone cries “hate crime”!

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  3. Barbara from Canada says:
    I wear my crucifix to work every day in a health care facility. If the employer told me to discard this appendage, as the cross is that close to my heart, I would most definitely object with all of my being. The cross worn about the neck as a Roman Catholic is part of my religious belief just as the scapular of Mount Carmel is. Those who decry this as not relevant are obviously lukewarm or non informed in the sacramentals as they are referred to in our faith. So to put matters straight the wearing of the cross publicly is a manifestation of our belief and pertinent to putting the cross before us as we travel through daily life. Those who oppose this have an agenda against Christians and seek the demise of the Church.

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    1. Barbara, I hope that religious people in Canada realize that there is opposition to religious liberty on the left, with the Liberal, NDP and Green parties, and to be very careful how you vote. I know that many Catholics have voted for bigger government in the past in Canada, and that is NOT GOOD for religious freedom.

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      1. I wear a crucifix as an outward sign, I don’t need one to remind me of Jesus, or what he did. If it were only me who had been told to take of my chain I would have objected, but as all who wore anything on a chain and why, I complied. I was allowed to wear in pinned inside my apron bib though. Not outside as this could have scratched the patient when we lifted them.

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    2. Just hope you never have a drunk try to strangle you with the chain. I’ve seen it happen and nearly had it happen to me I had only just started training and they had forgotten to tell us. Another girl with a locket on with a picture of her dead parents was also made to take it off.

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  4. For clarity: no employee has ever won a case in the UK defending their right to wear whatever they want.
    The necklace is not a mandated (or even mentioned) part of religious attire or Christians.
    The issue was not with the cross, but with the employers policy on jewellery.
    This means that the Christian is defending her right to break her employers policy on jewellery on the grounds that her clothing is related to religion but not at all relevant. Literally the defence is “but I want to be allowed to ignore the rules of my employment and the contract I signed”.
    Personally, if I were the judge, I’d ask to see their clothing labels. If the fabrics are mixed the defendant has lost her mind.

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