Skip to comments.Christians have a right to follow conscience [sez Equality and Human Rights Commission, UK]
Posted on 07/14/2011 8:03:17 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
The Equality and Human Rights Commission said judges had interpreted the law too narrowly in cases where Christians had claimed religious discrimination.
It is backing four British Christians who have lodged religious discrimination cases with the European Court of Human Rights.
They are Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in clerk who was dismissed without pay in 2006 for refusing to cover up her cross necklace; nurse Shirley Chaplin, who was removed from ward duties after refusing a similar request; Gary McFarlane, a relationships counsellor who was sacked for refusing to give sex therapy to same-sex couples; and Lillian Ladele, a registrar who was disciplined for refusing to conduct civil partnership registrations.
EHRC said that the way existing human rights and equality law was being interpreted by judges was insufficient to protect freedom of religion or belief.
Moreover, the EHRC argued that rulings by British and European courts had created a confusing and contradictory body of law that was also making it difficult for employers to know how to treat the religious sensitivities of their employees.
The commission said it was possible for employers to accommodate expression of religion alongside the rights of people who are not religious and the needs of their business.
It is proposing reasonable accommodation to help employers manage religion in the workplace and resolve disputes before they turn into legal actions.
John Wadham, legal group director at the commission said: Our intervention in these cases would encourage judges to interpret the law more broadly and more clearly to the benefit of people who are religious and those who are not.
The idea of making reasonable adjustments to accommodate a persons needs has served disability discrimination law well for decades.
It seems reasonable that a similar concept could be adopted to allow someone to manifest their religious beliefs.
The intervention comes not long after the EHRC was criticised by the Evangelical Alliance for failing to support Christians who faced discrimination.
The Evangelical Alliance said it was not so much secular humanists making Christians feel under siege as governments and bodies like the Commission that buy into their narrow secularising agenda by pursuing policies that directly and indirectly marginalise people of faith.
This week, the Church of England General Synod heard that equality laws are making it increasingly difficult for Christians to express their faith in the workplace.
Church of England bishops have met with Coalition ministers to voice their concerns over restrictions being placed on Christians by some employers.
Dr Philip Giddings, chairman of the Churchs public affairs council, said: Some employers have interpreted the law in ways which seem to assume that reasonable and respectful expressions of faith are, almost by definition, offensive. This is a cause of great concern."
Dr Giddings said Coalition ministers had been "sympathetic" and that the Church was looking forward to "practical responses".
They're proposing "reasonable accommodation" for Christians comparable to that which is accorded the handicapped.
That's a logical Category Mistake on the face of it, and yet it's a couple jumps better than they way they've been ruling for years, including this from just months ago:
"1/18/11 -- Judge Andrew Rutherford has ruled that Christians, and other adherents of religion, have no absolute right to religious belief in the UK which must be always be secondary to the behaviour and beliefs of all other groups in society, especially homosexuals..."
So the view from the rock bottom of the Human Rights pile is: things are looking up.
Wearing a cross is not a fundamental tenet of Christianity. The practical exercise of a religion is, and ought to be, always subordinate to human law.
> Wearing a cross is not a fundamental tenet of
You’re right about that.
> The practical exercise of a religion is, and ought to be,
> always subordinate to human law.
Perhaps this is true in the UK, but not here.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, NOR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF.”
— 1st Amendment, Constitution of the U.S.
— emhpasis mine, of course
” I thought I’d never live to see the day a “British Human Rights” unit -— home of Newspeak, Minitrue, and the Two Minute Hate-— actually acknowledges “some” Christian rights.
They’re proposing “reasonable accommodation” for Christians comparable to that which is accorded the handicapped.”
You read my mind ;-)
What if the human law, conflicts with God’s laws?
Should Daniel have stopped praying to God, because the King ordered it?
Should Nazi’s in concentration camps who were just following orders be let off the hook?
I think when they said “Free Exercise” they probably were referring to intellectual and moral exercises, as opposed to actions. Otherwise, Mormons could practice polygamy at will and pedophiles could legally molest children as part of some bizarre religious philosophy. Moreover, even where inocuous practices are concerned, one man’s religious practice might well interfere with another man’s rights as a citizen.
Mighty white of them.
Good question, and not hard to answer. Do what Uncle Tom did: follow God's law, and be prepared to accept the consequences.
“I think when they said Free Exercise they probably were referring to intellectual and moral exercises, as opposed to actions.”
That was the Soviet position, which posited a right to be free from religion.
It is a great way for a passive aggressive State to proscribe what it wishes were extinct.
“This week, the Church of England General Synod heard that equality laws are making it increasingly difficult for Christians to express their faith in the workplace. “
I’m guessing the Whore doesn’t like it when the Dragon bites her.
Your point of view is intrusive and violates rights of privacy.
Now, go back in your cave. When we need you we'll call you.
An accommodation given is an accommodation that can be taken away.
I think when they said Free Exercise they probably were referring to intellectual and moral exercises, as opposed to actions.
This is exactly what the left is attempting to do, restrict Christianity in particular (not other religions) from “free exercise” outside the confines of a church worship service.
I resent that remark: it's hostile, wanton, and completely uncalled-for in the context of this discussion.
So what should we as a society do: permit any action that's committed in the name of religion, or just permit anything done in the name of Christianity, which is the only valid religion after all?
> I think when they said Free Exercise they probably were
> referring to intellectual and moral exercises, as opposed
> to actions.
You are grossly mistaken.
Exercise is what you DO, not just what you Think.
A brief review of SCOTUS decisions, congressional resolutions, and presidential proclamations for the first 150 years of this nation’s history would clarify the intent of the constitutional framers for you.
Do you actually think that the people living in those times, including the Framers themselves, many of whom participated in public exhibitions of Faith, did not understand what their own First Amendment means, while the comparatively light-weight “intellectuals” of today understand it better than the Framers themselves?
If you believe that, you are probably a product of a tax-funded, union-run, government-school collective.
It's true that wearing a 2 cm silver cross is not a basic tenet of Christianity. And it is reasonable for you to make a distinction between the the small stuff and the big stuff. However, here are a few factors you might thoughtfully consider:
It's always dicey when you have government bodies deciding what is, and what is not, a "fundamental" tenet of every religion in the realm.
On that last point: British authorities have recently ruled that Catholic "Faith Schools" in the UK may not teach Catholic doctrines "as if they were true."
The govt. claims literally infinite regulatory competence.
I read this story in that context: as a push-back against this relentless interference and petty bullying.
You are trying to tangle with someone who is more than familiar with virtually every extant religion ~ and that's just right in my own neighborhood.
No one here has any problem with the "free exercise" clause. (at least since the 9/11 hiijacker support team fled anyway).
I do have a problem with people who seek to oppress religious people ~ particularly over geegaws, gimcracks and symbols.
WORD MAGIC does not exist no matter how hard you try to make everybody believe it does.
It's just not happening. One man's prayer to his sort of god has absolutely no impact on me, or you. Get over it.
I don't think they took as broad a view of what constituted a practical exercise of religion as you do. Nor, I think, could they ever have dreamed to what extent people would take things when deciding how to practice their religion.
Yet they left every mechanism in place for legislatures on every level to circumscribe human behavior.
Oh, pardon me. If I had known who I was tangling with I would have approached the subject with a bit more humility.
> I don’t think they took as broad a view of what constituted
> a practical exercise of religion as you do.
You don’t seem to be very well acquainted with the history of our nation nor do you seem to be aware of the speeches, writings and actions of the Constitutional Framers.
If anything, they had a broader view than I of what constitutes a practical exercise of religion.
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”