…that these people win their fight. I don’t think they will win; however, their actions should be covered under freedom of religion. What am I talking about? This article on the BBC where 4 christians are taking their cases to the EU version of the US Supreme Court. In two of the cases, people were fired for wearing crosses to work and two were fired for not wanting to perform same-sex marriages. Here is a summary from the article:
Nadia Eweida, a Pentecostal Christian from Twickenham, south-west London, who was sent home by her employer British Airways in 2006 after refusing to remove a necklace with a cross
Devon-based nurse Shirley Chaplin, who was moved to a desk job by Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust Hospital for similar reasons
Gary McFarlane, a Bristol relationship counsellor, who was sacked by Relate after saying on a training course he might have had a conscientious objection to giving sex therapy advice to gay couples
Registrar Lilian Ladele, who was disciplined after she refused to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies in north London
I, again, want to say that I think that what these people did should be allowed under freedom of religion. I think they should win their cases and the employers should have to make “adequate” adjustments for that to happen. But, I think they’ll loose. Why?
Well, the cases have been lumped together by the court (they all applied separately) but they are totally different. In the first two, Nadia and Shirley are trying to equate wearing a cross to the sikh turban or muslim hijab. I think the court will see through this. Why?
Well, because in the other 2 religions–Sikh and Islam–the following of the rules is salvific (it brings about salvation…as defined by that religion). The muslim MUST keep her “modesty” to be a good muslim and the sikh must also keep his hair covered while in public. But, the Christian can point to no such requirement to wear a cross. In fact, the Bible says that works–such as that–won’t bring about salvation. I don’t have a good argument in favor of it, at the moment; however, wearing a cross should be allowed (except in certain jobs where jewelry in general is disallowed for safety…like welding).
The other two have a better case. They can point to where the Bible identifies marriage as being between 1 man and 1 woman. They can show that the Bible considers homosexuality a sin (no different that adultery, murder, or lusting after a woman in your heart). Their argument is one similar to what pharmacists should use in performing an act that they have a moral problem against. If these cases were heard by themselves, they would probably win. People should not be compeled to do things they have moral problems with.
I’m posting this to say that I hope they win. Christians have rights that need to be protected just like anyone else’s. I don’t have a great argument for one of them…perhaps someone will comment and I’ll get a better more firm argument through the discussion.
[Update 2012-09-06 06:21:58] Here is an article in the Telegraph that describes how the arguments went before the court yesterday. All I have to say is …wow. I can’t believe a government that makes so much of multiculturalism takes such anti-Christian positions and arguments. Well….unfortunately, I can.
Image from john h wright photo via flickr