Christians take ‘beliefs’ fight to European Court of Human Rights

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Four British Christians who claim they lost their jobs as a result of discrimination against their beliefs are taking their cases to the European Court of Human Rights.


They include an airline worker stopped from wearing a cross and a registrar who did not want to marry gay couples.

All four lost separate employment tribunals relating to their beliefs.

Secular critics have said a ruling in favour of the group could “seriously undermine” UK equality law.

A ruling is not expected from the European court for several weeks.

The cases involve:

  • 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

Written By: Robert Pigott
continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

39 COMMENTS

  1. Looks like they either refused to do part of their job, or to conform to a standard uniform in the absence of a religious dictum requiring them to wear a particular article of clothing or an accessory.  Not discrimination as far as I can tell.

  2. “Four British Christians who claim they lost their jobs as a result of
    discrimination against their beliefs are taking their cases to the
    European Court of Human Rights.”

    Two of them were practicing discrimination at the time.

    The other two were gaining exposure for the promotion of a specific religion at the expense of their employer one of which was the government.

    I don’t really have issues with people wearing a cross just so long as they are prepared to recieve questions and criticism for making such statements. Wearing a cross is a statement you can not hide from making. You should be open to questioning.

  3. I’m really not comfortable with the idea of prohibiting people from wearing something as innocuous as a cross. I personally don’t feel threatened by someone’s desire to express their beliefs, however ridiculous,  with jewellery, provided it doesn’t interfere with their ability to do their job.  If there’s a general policy with regard to jewellery then fair enough… 

    It seems to me that , by objecting to the cross specifically, we are lending it an unwarranted symbolic significance. As a secularist that strikes me as somewhat hypocritical…

  4. I think a policy of restricting the wearing of certain symbols at a work place is quite understandable. If you allow a crucifix, what’s to stop one from wearing around their neck a Hammer and sickle, an Iron cross, a vulgar or non vulgar slogan, etc. Something tells me that a Catholic hospital wouldn’t tolerate one of its staff wearing an upside down cross or a symbol identifying one as an atheist or wiccan.
     I recall a nursing home back in the early 80′s that wouldn’t allow teens in to visit if they had an Iron Cross on their jacket. Also staff and visitors were not allowed to wear noisy hard heeled shoes that sounded like Gestapo boots.What gets me though, is the people who are upset and offended by not being allowed to wear a crucifix at work would never think of how the crucifix might be capable of offending or making others uncomfortable. I know of some indigenous elders that were once forced into a christian residential school that pretty much ruined their lives, families, and communities due to the long term affects of the abuses they endured at the hands of zealot priests and nuns. I wonder what goes through their minds when they are dealing with a smug Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development bureaucrat wearing a crucifix right in their face.

  5. I actually like it when they are wearing a cross or when they have a “God is my driver” sticker on their car. It tells me something about their mental capabilities and state of being. The more info, the better.

  6. “..how the crucifix might be capable of offending or making others uncomfortable..”

    But doesn’t freedom of speech imply the right to offend?  Ideas (good and bad) should surely be given the right to sink or swim in the memetic markeplace.

  7. Where systems of belief are in themselves discriminatory we have to act against them.  There are shameful enough episodes in the past from the abrahamic crowd and their sacred beliefs, but fortunately it is no longer possible in any civilised society to act on beliefs that witches should be killed, that blacks are inferior and that homosexuals and non believers and heretics should be persecuted.

    This feckless group forget that their beliefs are not limited to happy clappy gatherings and hocus pocus on a Sunday.  Their idle beliefs have enormous consequences for the geopolitical and human social issues of our world.

    I look at a crucfix in the same way as a nazi swastika or a twat cap.  It cuts out several hours of tiresome conversation with the wearer.

  8.  

    aquilacane

    I don’t really have issues with people wearing a cross just so long
    as they are prepared to recieve questions and criticism for making such
    statements. Wearing a cross is a statement you can not hide from making.
    You should be open to questioning.

    True! …. But perhaps not when you are supposed to focussed on your employer’s business, or during time  paid for as productive employment!

  9. Next they will want to burn witches and atheists as part of their “religious freedom”. They already want to be able to discriminate against gays. I guess thats their right as they see it.

  10. Yes, I’m all for freedom of speech and the right to offend.  It seems it is not permitted in many workplace environments amongst clients and customers for certain specific reasons. As for symbols offending people, where does one draw the line in the workplace? I couldn’t care less if one wanted to wear a swastika at work or a plasticized fetus around their neck. As a public employee, I am duly instructed by my employer not to engage in political or religious matters with customers for safety reasons that could escalate a potential situation that may impede me to provide the safest service necessary for my customers. I’m totally not permitted and will get fired if I criticize my employer in the company of customers while at work or in uniform in public off duty. I could even get fired for critiquing them on a blog. I’m warned by my employer that any opinions I express, even though they may be personal, are to be considered opinions of the company since I represent the company when at work or in uniform.  Also I am not permitted to wear any pin, emblem or symbol that represents or symbolizes a political party or religion, but I can wear a union pin.

  11.  “I’m really not comfortable with the idea of prohibiting people from wearing something as innocuous as a cross.”

    It wasn’t that they were explicitly prohibiting the cross but rather the necklace outside of the uniform contravened company policy. She wanted special discrimination on religious grounds that she should be exempt from the law just as the homophobes etc. want.

  12. I doubt they are even for religious freedom; more of the mindset for freedom of religions they believe are “legit”. In the US, there was a time not long ago when only “recognized” religions and their practices were permitted in the prison system. Those of the “pagan” religions were not permitted that were practised by indigenous inmates. Even spiritual ceremonies were banned. However Wicca was allowed.

  13. I have a smidgen of sympathy for the Cross-wearers because it is innocuous – I know people who wear various symbols just for aesthetic reasons – and their religious motivation should be irrelevant. I think the fact of the jewellery being religiously symbolic should be completely ignored so that only a policy against jewellery in general could be a possible reason for their dismissals/reprimands.

    As for the other two… well, I can almost hear the hypocrisy in their cries for help so I feel no sympathy whatsoever.

  14.  “It wasn’t that they were explicitly prohibiting the cross but rather the
    necklace outside of the uniform contravened company policy. She wanted
    special discrimination on religious grounds that she should be exempt
    from the law just as the homophobes etc. want.”

    That makes a lot more sense, and is a (dare I say it) “crucial” detail…..

    Thanks for clarifying.

  15.  As far as I’m aware, at least the airline case WAS only about the fact that she was wearing a dangly necklace (when her employment contract expressly said not to). The lump on the end of it was irrelevant; she made it into a religious argument, which the employer should have shot down immediately. It could have been a rock from her garden painted pink for all they cared. (The mention of the employer allowing Sikh bracelets etc is a bit of a concern…)
    (Disclaimer: I’m no expert, and I haven’t been following these cases closely.)

  16. ” True! …. But perhaps not when you are supposed to be focused on your
    employer’s business, or during time  paid for as productive employment!”

    I know, it’s a tough call. My mother wears a Hebrew symbol/letter(?) given to her by a close Jewish friend. It’s nice, too. Big hunk of gold.  She’s not Jewish, my mother, but she wears it all the time. Gets a lot of business with it, although she is a mostly independent sales person. To her, it means friend and not whatever it actually means; which may actually be friendship(?).

    Everyone else, who doesn’t know, thinks the symbol/letter is religious because it is Jewish. Were it a cross, it could be assumed to mean Jesus. She has one of those too but she’s no christian either. The thing is,  I see so much of that cross crap on everything and everyone that I’m not quite sure it isn’t becoming another Hebrew symbol for who cares, it’s gold.

    A uniformed person has a uniform. That is what you wear, if you can’t just wear that, this job is not for you; assuming you tried to negotiate something. People can be flexible when they learn of an issue that can be remedied by a zero effect change.

    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had a turban crisis but it all seems
    to have worked out. I actually like seeing the turbans with the kilts. If we had to get rid of one, well…  I’d drop the kilt. Nobody
    wants to punch a man in a turban but everyone wants to have a go at the
    guy in the skirt. (I’m joking here, for all offended Scots)

    I guess a business could argue such symbols have a real effect on business and brand perception, when taken too far or blatant in their posturing. I did see a truck for a big looking construction company all dolled up in Christ-fish and crosses. I wouldn’t use them because they are sending me the wrong message. What is the benefit of using you? You pray it will work out? Wrong message.

    When I see a sales person with a modest cross about their neck, I assume it is because they  either are religious, got it as a gift, just like it, inherited it from a dead relative or a loved one has inspired a mandatory wardrobe selection despite lack of faith.

    If the person is blatantly advertising their religious views on your dime, going around like a christian flavoured sandwich board, well that is firing material. Unless, of course, you follow the religion too and love that sort of thing in your company.

    Sorry for the long reply.

    I did a scribble to make it all better.
     

     

  17. I fully support Public Service or Private Business restrictions on the display of symbols that identify members of groups that virulently indoctrinate intolerance, superiority, discrimination, hatred, ignorance, faith, ideology, domination, etc.

    But, at all other times, I would prefer to clearly see these symbols, so I can easily decide who to avoid in my life since, although I’m fully inoculated against these dangerous infections, I have much better things to do with my limited time…. 

  18. Would their employers have dared discriminate against them if they’d been Muslims? I think we all no the answer. In hospitals staff members have to wear short sleeved shirts, but not Muslims, so why is a small cross such a problem? Most of the posters on this board on in total denial about our rapidly advancing two tier justice system. 

    Off topic a bit, does anyone know how to access your old posts? On the old website, when you logged in you had links to your most recent posts

  19. I don’t have a problem with crucifixes – but I do have a problem when the wearer goes against the normal uniform policy and insists on their crucifix being prominently displayed rather than tucked away inside where it can’t be seen and is of no health & safety risk.   The BA lady wanted to show all BA’s customers that she was a Christian – her faith is not personal, it is proselytising and arrogant.    As for Muslims, Sikhs and everyone else – if there is a genuine health & safety risk then I don’t care what their religion dictates they should find different employment or adhere to the rules which are there for a reason.    The idea that a Muslim can flout hygiene rules in hospitals due to religion is CRAZY!   I also have a bit of a problem with turbans because there are other ways of covering hair that don’t interfere so much with safety and I see some of the youngsters doing just that.     
    I feel confident that if the ECHR is doing its job properly it will uphold the original decision.  The alternative would just open the floodgates to even more claims for religious ‘exception’ and ‘persecution’.

  20. Quite bluntly, I hope they win. All of what they did would appear much more acceptable if it came from some non Christians. If Muslims, Sikhs and who ever are permitted religious clothing, firing people over a small piece of jewelry is ridiculous.

    There must be one law for all, and no exemptions for any religion, particularly not the violent and whiny ones.

  21. There are two distinct cases here. One is about dress code, the other discrimination. The censure of employees for wearing a cross is silly. It is not religious discrimination as they claim, but it is silly. A crucifix harms nobody. Also I am ready to bet that muslim headscarves and Sikh turbans are permitted by the same employers.  This should not have got to court.

    However the other two cases are far more serious. These guys are demanding the right to practice discrimination at the work place “because it’s in their religion”. If the ECHR upholds their complaint, we will have to do alot of soulsearching here in the UK. It will be the end to decades of fighting for equal rights.

  22. First off, if you want to wear the thing (even if wearing a symbol of torture is a bit strange), why not put it inside, since your invisible friend will know it’s there. But, second, let’s say you allow it, now does some skinhead working there have the right to proudly display his/her swastika? Or maybe working on an airline, with a little World Trade Center symbol, maybe burning or something horrid like that? Better to understand you have a job, you have a uniform, park your personal stuff at the door or inside where it’s only for you.

  23. With regard to Eweida/Chaplin, my understanding is that the dress code of their employers (BA/NHS) forbade the wearing of necklaces. They both insisted that their religious beliefs should over-ride these rules and their necklace+crucifix should be exempt.

    In my opinion, this could be the basis for a very dangerous precedent.

    As an aside, I got involved in a discussion on sheffieldforum.co.uk about this very topic and I posted what I thought was an amusing spoof on the situation and was immediately banned and the posting removed! I guess some Christian/Druid/Dipstick got offended.

    FYO here is the post I made … (beware, it’s very offensive – evidently)

    =======================================
    I truly hope that my sisters in spirit, Nadia and Shirley, win their cases in the Halls of Demons. I pray to Brighid and Carridhan that the Earth Spirits will prevail.

    I am a true follower of the Gods of Pagan and am joyed that we are recognised as a true religion – We believe the only TRUE religion.

    So – if our sacrificial sisters are granted their wishes with respect to their Lords and Spirits – we will demand likewise, and the precedent created will (as we are informed by our Dark Lord) give us the right to demonstrate our Faith and Love by entering our workplaces dressed as High Druids and pulling a dead goat in tow.

    The trivial, materialistic nonsense written in the silly man-made rule books of our Employers count as nothing where the demands of our religion are concerned.

    I admit that the Hood, Staff and Cloak of my Holy Druid clothes will interfere a bit with my job as a Sprocket Bottom Knocker – not to mention the aroma from the dead goat – but my Religious Sensibilities would at last become my HOLY and GOD-GIVEN right!

    Tremble all you lesser beings, tremble!

  24. sigbert, quite bluntly I hope they don’t. These are not your average christians (if they were they wouldn’t be bringing these test cases) and this isn’t a simple discrimination case it is a political one from christians upset at living in a secular society which isn’t affording them special status. Brought I suspect by the Christian Institute which is unhappy with the UK being a largely secular society.

    With regards to the two cases where the christians refused to counsel/marry gay couples – that is simple discrimination on their parts. It is no different to fervent members of the BNP/EDL jumping on the bandwagon and refusing to deal with black clients because it upsets their deeply held racist beliefs. Just cos the christian bible sanctions homophobia doesn’t mean the state should. Neither christian has been forced to take the job they’re doing. Gay people have a right to the services they are employed (and paid) to provide. If they feel they can’t provide that service to all without prejudice don’t take that job.

    As for the crucifix issues. The BA uniform rules state no jewellery, possibly because the role requires you to look smart and jewellery does not suit the way it is structured. However it is a fairly conservative uniform so she would have no problems at all wearing the cross inside it. At my daughters school Sikh girls have to wear the kara bracelet under their shirt sleeves. They don’t seem to have a problem. If the non jewellery rule is in place and Ms Eweida feels she really needs to wear her cross visibly – she should not have taken the job. Those are her employers rules. 

    The case of Ms Caplin is even more interesting. Necklaces are banned for nurses for very good reasons, namely the protection of patients. There are risks of cross infection.  What Ms Caplin seems to omit is the fact that the health authority in question bent over backwards to accommodate her wishes to display her crucifix. Including, I believe, allowing her to wear a cross as a badge on her uniform! Hence declaring her religious beliefs without risk to vulnerable patients.

    Most jobs aren’t that fussed about the wearing of religious symbols. Where rules are there they are for a good reason. And it isn’t just poor ikkle christians. A teacher was prevented from wearing a full burkkha cos it was deemed scary to small four year olds and prevented her doing her job of teaching english as a second language. Likewise a school girl took her school to court cos it wouldn’t let her wear a burkkha. A ridiculous health and safety risk, and cheating risk in a school.
     
    This is a farce and a political show trial for christians not a genuine case of anything at all. They must loose.

  25. The case of the airline worker is particularly telling. She was offered a compromise by BA where she could wear a lapel badge cross, rather than a cross on a chain. She claimed this was unacceptable.

    In other words it is NOT about “not being allowed to show your faith” but all about, in her case a particular piece of bling.

    “Pentecostal Christian” FFS, that says it all. The worst form of woo woo imaginable. That alone should invalidate anyone from any job.  Can just imagine the job advert: “Wanted: Stewardesses. Fucked in the head, chandelier swinging, pew jumping, tongue speaking fundies need not apply”  !!!

    SG

  26. Refusing to perform a job function because of religious belief–as in the woman who refused to marry a same sex couple, and the counselor who refused to help a same sex couple–is inappropriate and should be ruled a sound and legal justification for terminating employment.

    In terms of wearing a cross, I have somewhat more mixed feelings.  Yes, an employer should have broad powers restricting expression and speech in the workplace (as in prohibiting hate speech or sexual innuendo that might be perfectly ‘legal’ on a sidewalk), but it is not quite a slam dunk that an employer should be able to prohibit a small piece of jewelry like a cross.  If a Muslim woman is be allowed to cover her hair in the workplace, following the dictates of her religion, then a Christian woman should be able to wear a small crucifix.

    My preference is to give an employer the right to prohibit all forms of religious expression in the workplace, but if that is deemed too sweeping of a power by the courts, then it is important that each religion be allowed a ‘comparable’ form of expression (such as a skull cap for Jews, a headscarf for Muslims, a modest crucifix for Christians, and a bowl of spaghetti for Pastafarians).  

  27. A secular society is impossible without equality, and that is what this legal case is about.

    BA and NHS have exemptions for hijab, turban and what not in their dress codes. They and the courts pretend these were mandated by their respective religions, as opposed to wearing a little cross as jewellery, which is voluntary. This type of religious reasoning should have no place in law.

    If this were seen secularly, all of religion is a private affair, therefore all religious symbols are worn as a personal choice. Either all are permitted, or none are. The companies and the courts played favourites with some religions by making exceptions – I hope the ECHR clarifies that all religions are to be treated equally, no matter what their prophets and gurus say about articles of clothing.

  28. Deeply ironic that two of the people here are too stupid to realise that they are going to the European Court of Human Rights in a bid to deny other people their own human rights and as for the other two they have developed some absurd belief that whatever dresscode they are required to adhere to their dumbshit religion gives them the right to ignore it, arseholes the lot of them.

  29. sigbert I think I can see your point but my response would be that this is not simply an attempt to be allowed to breach uniform codes cos muslims are allowed to wear hijabs. This is purely an attempt for some evangelical christians to claim persecution in a secular state NOT because they are persecuted but because just like the people calling for sharia law they would prefer to live in a theocratic christian one. In secular states nobody is really persecuted for their religious beliefs – that is what secular means. It doesn’t mean atheist it means neutral. Nobody, not even the most fervent atheist, is stopping them worshipping or rounding them up and stoning them for wishing to wear a cross.

    Nor are they actively being prevented from wearing crosses, just  not as visibly as they’d wish in their employers time, when they are paid to do what they are told within reason and are representatives of their employer not their personal selves. I’m paid to teach chemistry for example, so do not belittle the ridiculous notions of some of the religious children in my employers time.

    In running a secular state balances always have to be made. The crucifix is not an essential part of christianity as far as I’m aware. And it can be worn discreetly, like the Sikh kara bracelet, under clothing. For most jobs wearing it visibly  it is not a problem anyway as most jobs do not ban jewellery. But in the two cases in question there was a clear across the board jewellery ban in place. NOT a specific ban on religious imagery as they seem to be suggesting, so no deliberate or obvious religious discrimination occurred. That employers ruling was clearly breached.

    The hijab differs in that it is considered essential for some muslim women and can’t be worn discreetly. In those cases the tricky balance then arises of muslim girls and women going out into the world to get the sorts of education or financial freedoms that other women enjoy (which might one day save their lives – its poverty that often keeps women in abusive relationships after all).  However it is still not the ‘free for all just cos they are muslims’, that these christians are claiming. No reasonable school or employer allows the wearing of the burkkha or niqab or anything else that covers the face. With very good reasons, schoools/employers need to know who is on their premises and who is actually sitting an exam and cos it is a more serious breach of human rights. And similar court cases to this one have been brought by muslim women complaining they couldn’t wear burkkhas.

    Likewise and sexist or homophobic comments or bullying are not tolerated in schools even tho they form part of some religious peoples mindsets. Again it is not a free for all for muslim bigots whilst christian bigots have to shut up. The hijab is a difficult one, but on balance I’d prefer to see girls getting jobs and educations that might free them voluntarily from wearing it. However if a company has a clear hair covering ban, than like the crucifix cases here, I would assume they too would be disciplined for breaching it and rightly so. 

    Both women could have argued for alternatives like a pin badges or could have reached compromises. They didn’t cos they wanted a fight. And bizarrely a fight where their comrades are claiming they are being discriminated against becuase they are forbidden from discriminating against others. I’m not a christian but I’m pretty sure discrimination is not part of its supposed message.  

  30. A British Christian registrar (civil marriage officiator) Lillian Ladele refused to perform civil unions for gay couples. She is suing in the European Court of Human Rights for her right to discriminate.

    Ladele denies she is a homophobic bigot because her bigotry is motivated by Christianity. She is unaware that nearly all homophobic bigots are Christian or Muslim. I personally have received over 3,300 death threats from them. When bigots drag gays to death behind their pickup trucks they do it in the name of the same Christianity Ms. Ladele uses to justify her bigotry.

    She apparently has never been taught the history of how bigots used the bible to justify enslaving her African ancestors and generally mistreating them. It is odd, then, that she considers the bible sufficient moral justification for bigotry against gays, denying them the ordinary privileges of citizenship.

    People who request civil unions usually have been rejected by the churches or whom have rejected the churches. Gays and atheists are the most obvious people in this category. Why would someone with extreme Christian views take up a profession of performing marriages the churches refuse to perform and may even consider invalid? She is a power tripper who enjoys making lives miserable for others. She is no victim.

    Adjudicating this case will entail a balancing of rights. Who is harmed more, the couple denied a ceremony, or Lillian Ladele who has to perform a ceremony for people she does not like?

    What precedent do you set? Does a driving test examiner have the right to refuse Muslims? Does a doctor have the right to refuse to treat immigrants?

    That is the whole point of discrimination legislation. If you hang out your shingle to accept the general public, especially if you are the government, you may not turn people away based on race, religion, sexual orientation etc.

    If a registrar wants to be a bigot, she should find employment in institution where bigotry is legally protected and encouraged such as the Catholic church.

  31. Air line employees wear uniforms. It is part of the job. Airlines spend millions of dollars designing the uniforms to create a particular effect. Gaudy beads, leg warmers, a cross, a political button, a find from an Indian bazaar, a nun’s habit, a habib… all spoil that effect. The cross is particularly bad because its trying to push a point of view not shared by the airline on its customers. It makes customers uncomfortable, particularly non-Christians. It may even be perceived as threatening, as if to say, “only Christians are welcome here” or “I strongly disapprove of drinking alcohol even though I am peddling it under duress.” If the passenger is Muslim, it would say “I approve of the genocide of your people in the crusades.” If the passenger is gay, it says “I would like to kill you if I could get away with it.” If she wants to proselytize, let her do in on her own time, or go work in a Christian supply store. She has no right to push her delusions on the airline’s captive customers. I would see no objection to her wearing religious fetishes under her clothing. She claims she is being fired for being Christian. Nonsense. She was fired for refusing to stop modifying her uniform to give the false impression British Airways promotes Christianity. She would have been similarly fired for refusing to remove a political button, a football team pin, an “ask me about Amway” tag or a decorative pendant made by her niece. The whole point of her cross is to advertise Jesus. In principle, it is no different from advertising Amway. Wearing the uniform as given is part of her employment contract

  32. These litigants imagine they are being persecuted for being Christian, where what is really happening is they are being blocked from pushing their religion on others.

    The Puritans left England for America not because they couldn’t be Puritans in their mother country, but because they were not allowed to force others to become Puritans; in the New World, of course, they could and did.

    ~ Gore Vidal 1925-10-03 2012-07-30

  33. I would not be surprised if these same people fiercely opposed the right to wear equivalent religious expressions like burkas. In fact, I would be surprised if they did not. The protection of religious freedom has nothing to do with this whatsoever. The goal of these people is the protection of _their_ religious freedom.
    The Dutch fundamentalist christian party SGP have recently admitted that, and I quote, “..the religious freedoms so fiercely defended by us, are, in fact, limited only to the freedoms of _our_  religion.”
    This is idiosyncratic to all fundamentalist religious groups. They all apparently fight for religious freedom but you must realise they do not, as they all merely strive to ensure the freedom to their own religion. This deceitful and undemocratic practice is called ‘religiocentrism’ and it is one of the hidden dangers in the modern religion debate.

  34. Gary McFarlane was a marriage counselor and sex therapist for Relate, a British charity. After a number of years he decided his Christian faith meant he was no longer prepared to serve gay clients. He claims his freedom of religion to be a bigot is being trampled because he is being persecuted and forced to serve gays equally. By analogy, he got a job as a lion and tiger tamer, then after some harrowing experiences, complained he was henceforth refusing to tame lions, on religious grounds, and demanded to keep his job at full pay. If Mr. McFarlane wants to be a counselor where he can discriminate against gays all he pleases, he should find employment in an institution where bigotry is legally protected and encouraged such as the Catholic church.

    Presume Mr. McFarlane ultimately loses his case, and is assigned to a help a gay couple. He greets them with a look as if he had just sucked a case of lemons. There is no way he could function as a competent counselor. He would have to be fired for incompetence.

    One interesting feature of this case is Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury made an appeal to the court that only judges with a reputation for being sympathetic to Christianity be allowed to adjudicate the case. The cheek of these Christians, demanding bias!

    source source source source source

  35. If a Buddhist monk who has taken a vow to take no life applies for a job in a slaughterhouse and refuses to slaughter animals, and is fired, he cannot very well claim religious discrimination. The job is simply a bad fit, much as it would be for someone allergic to cattle hair. If anything, the employer should be able to sue the monk for jerking them around. Your religion should not entitle you to be paid for work you refuse to do.

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