Christians’ discrimination cases rejected by human rights court

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Three British Christians who argued that their beliefs saw them wrongly disciplined by their employers for actions such as refusing to counsel same-sex couples have lost their legal battle at the European court of human rights.


Shirley Chaplin, Gary McFarlane and Lillian Ladele had their appeals to the Strasbourg court rejected in January as part of the same ruling as that in which Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in attendant, won her fight against being banned from wearing a cross at work.

The three sought to resolve the matter in the court's grand chamber, its final arbiter. However, judges at the court have rejected the request, in effect ending the legal battle.

The success for Eweida, who was awarded €2,000 (£1,600) in compensation after a seven-year struggle with the airline – a decision welcomed by David Cameron among others – partly overshadowed the contrasting judgment in the cases of Chaplin, McFarlane and Ladele.

Chaplin, 57, a geriatrics nurse from Exeter, was moved to an administrative job after she refused to take off a crucifix around her neck. Her case was rejected in January on the grounds that such an instruction was necessary for hygiene and the safety of patients and staff.

Written By: Peter Walker
continue to source article at guardian.co.uk

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  1. I’m still disgusted that people somehow have the right to wear religious labels at work against the express wishes of their employers and the contract they agreed to.

    If I, as an employer, mandate that employees on work time should not wear badges or logos showing affiliation to any group other than the company (or associated group companies) then why should religious ‘privilege’ provide an exemption from this? If I’m permitted to ban a lapel badge for Manchester United or the Conservative Party, why can’t I ban a crucifix or star of David? Why does religion get this free pass?

    It annoys me.

    • Ben, I’d like to answer that one. We (especially us in America) are living in a world half full of primitive thinkers who didn’t keep up with society..

      In reply to #3 by BenS:

      I’m still disgusted that people somehow have the right to wear religious labels at work against the express wishes of their employers and the contract they agreed to.

      If I, as an employer, mandate that employees on work time should not wear badges or logos showing affiliation to any group other tha…

    • In reply to #3 by BenS:

      I’m still disgusted that people somehow have the right to wear religious labels at work against the express wishes of their employers and the contract they agreed to.

      If I, as an employer, mandate that employees on work time should not wear badges or logos showing affiliation to any group other than the company (or associated group companies) then why should religious ‘privilege’ provide an exemption from this? If I’m permitted to ban a lapel badge for Manchester United or the Conservative Party, why can’t I ban a crucifix or star of David? Why does religion get this free pass?

      If it is not written into the initial contract of employment (either way) tough! However if it interferes with the employee’s ability to do their job, that is against their basic agreement to do their job. A very simple employment guide has 3 parts, 1) can they do the job? 2) are ther willing to do the job? and 3) do they get on with everyone else during their work?

    • In reply to #3 by BenS:

      I’m still disgusted that people somehow have the right to wear religious labels at work against the express wishes of their employers and the contract they agreed to.

      If I, as an employer, mandate that employees on work time should not wear badges or logos showing affiliation to any group other tha…

      Totally agree. If a vegetarian worked in an abbatoir and complained about their work because it went against their vegetarian principles, they’d simply be told their views were incompatible and were working in the wrong job. Yet if a B&B or hotel worker doesn’t want to serve a gay couple, or a catholic doctor or nurse doesn’t want to deliver contraception or advice on birth control, rather than tell them to simply do their jobs, we have to have a whole debate about ‘rights in the workplace.’ And at the end of the day, I don’t see why the beliefs of a Christian trump the beliefs of a vegetarian. Both are entitled to their opinions and beliefs, neither are permitted to enforce them on the rest of us.

    • In reply to #3 by BenS:

      I’m still disgusted that people somehow have the right to wear religious labels at work against the express wishes of their employers and the contract they agreed to.

      If I, as an employer, mandate that employees on work time should not wear badges or logos showing affiliation to any group other tha…

      I don’t know about other countries, but the U.S. has the First Amendment. Even though I can’t stand all of the hogwash these zealots are pushing on us, I do not want it removed. If anything, I see no problem with making it difficult for organized religions to gain too much power, but I want to have the right to my own, personal belief. If we ban your belief (or non-belief, as the case may be), how do I know mine won’t be next?

      However, that nurse should have known better. Religion should not trump health and hygiene concerns in a hospital.

  2. Thankfully, a full bench of EU human rights judges have a lot more sense than wingnut professional complainers.

    I’ve followed all of these cases (and others) here in the UK and there is a common strand in that they are funded by a fruitcake, but well-funded lawyer (Andrea Minichello Williams) and they are part of an orchestrated campaign by fundamentalist Christians to find poster boys and girls to demonstrate how Christians are being “persecuted” in the UK; professional victimhood if you like. If you want Christian persecution go and live in Egypt or Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.

    Their selected litigants are just cannon fodder. They are built up to expect victory, some sort of triumph for truth, justice and the Christian way, and they endure literally years of grief as the litigation process erodes their confidence and self-esteem, in cases that any sane lawyer (I am one) would have told them at the outset should never have been commenced. The impact on these people’s lives cannot be under-estimated. It is cruel.

    This whole campaign underpins the evangelical wing of the Church of England (led by former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey – widely considered now to be away with the fairies), and their discomfort at the erosion of their historical “right” to discriminate against others, especially gays, but also women.

    Irony is quite lost on these foaming at the mouth reactionary loons. They have practically never won a case, and the money they must have spent on court cases could have fed every homeless person in Briton for several years. Go figure…

  3. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised by this ruling, I honestly thought that when it came to a landmark case such as this they’d crumble under pressure from the religious and rule in their favour.

  4. I think the crucifix ruling was wrong. Staff at BC hospitals take off all jewelry after they discovered it was harbouring and transmitting antibiotic resistant bacteria. There was too much emphasis on the fact it was Christian jewelry. That is not good enough reason to risk patient health.

    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 (born: 1925-10-03 died: 2012-07-30 at age: 86)

    • In reply to #9 by Roedy:

      I think the crucifix ruling was wrong.

      I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick here – there were two “crucifix” cases, and the one involving a nurse (Shirley Chaplin) was indeed decided against her on health and safety grounds. No crosses in hospitals then.

      Nadia Eweida wanted to wear a modest crucifix in her job as a British Airways check-in attendant; BA had a blanket “no jewellery” rule. The rule had sensible origins, but long before her case came to court BA actually changed the rule to permit reasonable visible expressions of faith such as this. I think they still have rules about flight cabin crew where jewellery could impede the crew helping to evacuate a plane in an emergency.

      There was at some point some discussion about whether BA ground staff wearing necklaces might be at greater risk of injury in case of attack by a nutty or drunk passenger, but that argument fell off the radar fairly early on.

      • In reply to #11 by Stevehill:

        Nadia Eweida wanted to wear a modest crucifix in her job as a British Airways check-in attendant; BA had a blanket “no jewellery” rule. The rule had sensible origins, but long before her case came to court BA actually changed the rule to permit reasonable visible expressions of faith such as this. I think they still have rules about flight cabin crew where jewellery could impede the crew helping to evacuate a plane in an emergency.

        True, but I think the point does need to be emphasised that it is not only the right to life which trumps religious liberties, all rights of conduct do. Religious liberties are just privileges.

        I would not sign away my freedom of expression, but individuals should have the power to do so if they wish.

        • In reply to #15 by Peter Grant:

          In reply to #11 by Stevehill:

          True, but I think the point does need to be emphasised that it is not only the right to life which trumps religious liberties, all rights of conduct do. Religious liberties are just privileges….

          Great point. It would be nice if the zealots understood this.

          I would not sign away my freedom of expression, but individuals should have the power to do so if they wish….

          I’m sorry, I’m just not following. If I’m reading this correctly, I would technically have to agree. But why would anyone want to do that?

  5. The first sentence tells you everything you need to know to decide which side to be on, which is why the courts did it:

    Three argued their beliefs saw them disciplined for actions

    So, in other words, their actions got them in trouble, but they pretended that their beliefs did.

  6. The religious mind and uncritical thinking. They weren’t disciplined for their beliefs they were disicplined for their actions which had direct effects on others. They can and obviously do believe whatever rubbish they like. What religios don’t get is that when it suits them the ‘religion is a private thing’ defence is soon trundled out. Well yes it is! Anything that goes on between their ears is exactly that. However they cannot then claim the right to insist everyone else is fettered by the same crap that is tormenting their own neurons and use it as a defence for being a fekwit.

  7. discrimination is when one makes the assumption that someone is a nasty bigoted homophobe because they’re christian, not when one acts on their display of nasty bigoted homophobia.

    I think it’s time to rethink freedom of religion laws. as they stand they seem fine but only if you look at the spirit of the law rather than ways of interpreting it so maybe they should point out that no one has a right to impede another’s human right, regardless ofwhat their religion teaches

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