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.”
See also ...
So, yes, bow down or whatever it is you do when you signify defeat. Frankly, I don't care. You are beaten in this debate before it gets started. Whatever floats your boat.
You and your intellect aren’t really worth parlying with, so far as I’m concerned. You come across here like a Pharisee demanding to know where Jesus got his divinity degree.
You are correct—this is better.
The really sick idea in Western Civilization which defies reason and logic and science (and what so appalled Ayn Rand, although she was an atheist) is the embrace of Postmodernism (and its irrationality) verses Modern philosophy which is the foundation of American Jurisprudence and the genius of Western Civilization.
To put is simply—it is exactly what Whittaker Chambers wrote in the 1950s. It is the Culture War of ideas—the polemic of the ages: There is a God or not. (This atheism started with the Enlightenment, and was forced onto the masses by the elites supporting Darwinism and Nietzsche, Freud and John Stuart Mills whose ideas were promoted by major Foundations, publishers, and curricula. They demeaned and never promoted the ideas of Modern Philosophy unless Voltaire’s and like minded atheists.
They abolished the wisdom and genius of Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Reid—although their philosophy reigned and was the most influential in the formation of the USA. They destroyed people’s knowledge of these great thinkers by Marxist techniques of ridicule and denigration, censorship and brainwashing, so people would accept the opposing ideology of atheism and have no understanding of Natural Law—the ideas that actually started in pre-Socratic times and was the dominate ideas that created Bacon, Descartes, Newton, Shakespeare, Milton, Dickens.... even Einstein and Tolstoy, born into the era of Postmodernism, were still highly influenced by the old philosophy because countries were not yet able to completely suppress ideas until the 1900’s and communism/socialism/progressivism took control over mainstream media and all mass communications.
It took awhile for Postmodernism to be dominate....and Nazi and Lenin, Stalin and Mussolini, Hitler, Mao and Pot are people who totally agreed with the new philosophy of Postmodernism which spread over the Continent, then the sewage seeped into England and jumped over to the US. TV and mass media (public schools) are almost completely controlled by Postmodernist thought, as is the publishing businesses. Even in 1951, people like Buckley could not get his books published by the major printing companies because they contained the “wrong” message.
Hellenic and Modern philosophy gave the idea of private property (Postmodernism destroys it). Private property rights include control over one’s own body and thoughts. Natural Law says their is a designer and that man is created as a rational animal—who is able to reach into the “deeper meaning of things” (Aristotle) and understand (with “right reason in accord with nature” (Cicero) the deeper meanings of life.
De re publico by Cicero in Book III, chapter 22 states:
“There is a true law, right reason in accord with nature; it is a universal application, unchanging and everlasting...It is wrong to abrogate this law and it cannot be annulled...There is one law, eternal and unchangeable, binding at all times upon all peoples; and there will be, as it were, one common master and ruler of men, God, who is the author of this law, its interpreter and sponsor.”
Right reason means not just any “concepts” should be accepted, it means just those concepts which determine good and evil through discernment about what is in harmony with nature, verses discord. Harmony in nature creates a flourishing, productive, and most fulfilled people because they are designed for certain actions which includes continuity of the species.
Justice Thomas embraces Natural Law Theory....he may be the only one on the Supreme Court who does and it is for this reason that he was so viciously attacked in confirmation hearings.
Our legal system is no longer Constitutional, because it has become one of Positive Law....with no regard to the Supra-Positive laws which are the foundation of our legal system. This historical concept dates back to Cicero—was embellished by John Locke, written into our Constitution—used by MLK in his famous letter from the Birmingham jail and used in 1850’s in protest to arrest for hiding fugitive slaves, and, famously, used in the Nuremberg Trials.
There IS a higher law than man’s. It is a fact in the US. These “laws” on homosexual marriage fly in the face of that higher law—and as Cicero and Locke stated—when man’s laws no longer are based on Natural Law (God’s laws) they are unjust and evil.
They use the force of law (fascism) to tell people what and how to think which goes against their fundamental design of nature and denies them the right to their thinking in any public forum. It is evil and denial of basic human rights—for a sex act. Disgusting. And what is worse, they teaching children that unnatural acts are natural....it is cognitive dissonance that will destroy logic and reason and understanding of science. You can’t teach lies to young children—it ruins their foundation of knowledge and destroys their ability to use logic. That is their intent...so that everything one desires becomes a right—and there will be no reasonable people able to refute the “logic”.
It IS about freedom of expression, though, and there is absolutely no reason to ban it.
Not too familiar with the Constitution, are we?
Some of our fellow FReeps seem not to have noticed that this article is about UK, not USA. Thus not directly about US Constitutional law. It could still turn into a worthwhile discussion of principles and practice, if people would kindly pay attention.
No problem, and I see you as someone who can maintain a civil discourse. It's true that Christians have been taking a terrible beating in terms of bigotry and anti-Christian zealotry--often over the most trivial things--and that's lamentable. My perspective, however, pertains to a question that marries Western concepts of freedom of religion and the right of people (in their own private spheres) or government (acting in the role of government) to circumscribe behavior that's practiced in the name of religion. Obviously, pace all those who believe that the freedom of religion implies the right to do anything one wishes (as opposed to believing anything one wishes) governments have a right to circumscribe behavior; to prescribe or proscribe as the case warrants. (I'll take the actions of people in their private spheres right out of the discussion, since I think everyone believes that no one should be forced to accept another person's religion.) We obviously don't want government passing laws prohibiting such things as wearing crosses, or having baby boys circumcised, not because a duly elected government hasn't the right to pass such laws, but simply because they are bad and arbitrary, and really none of government's business. On the other hand, we might want to prohibit the Muslim practice of women wearing veils in public, or when having photos taken for drivers' licenses, because that addresses a real societal issue; similarly we want to restrict the Mormon practice of polygamy. The problem, and the crux of the issue for anyone designing a Constitution that serves as a guideline for a nation's laws is, how do we grant government the right to pass good law, and at the same time prevent government from passing bad law? The only answer is to construct a Constitution that provides for all contingencies--something impossible to do, and certainly not desirable even to the extent that it could be done. That's where I'm coming from in reference to this discussion.
Just as a matter of curiosity, consider the following excerpt from the trial of Brian David Mitchell, who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart and held her hostage for nine months. In the transcript, Miss Smart is describing the occasion when Mitchell forced her to dress in a head-to-toe garment and veil, then brazenly took her to a public library, where she was approached by a detective:
Viti: When you got to the library, can you tell us what happened?
Smart: We went to the bathroom and we came back and sat down at a table. And I think he had taken a little bit longer in the bathroom and I remember a man approaching us. But at the same time he was approaching us, the defendant was walking back. The man introduced himself as a homicide detective.
Viti: What happened after he introduced himself?
Smart: He wanted me to remove the veil so he could see my face.
Viti: What was Wanda Barzee doing at the time?
Smart: Her hand was clenching my leg.
Viti: Did you interpret this to mean anything?
Smart: Yes, I interpreted it to mean, "Dont say anything; dont move; dont do anything."
Viti: When the detective asked that he wanted to look under the veil, did he give you a reason why?
Smart: Um, yes.
Viti: What reason was that?
Smart: Uh, he was looking for, or a couple of telephone calls had come in and he was looking for Elizabeth Smart.
Viti: At the time that the detective said that, where was the defendant?
Smart: He was standing up in front of us facing the detective. He was in between us and the detective.
Viti: What did the defendant say, if anything, when he wanted to look under your veil?
Smart: He said that was not allowed in our religion and only my husband would see my face.
Viti: What were you wearing?
Smart: We had the robes on, the headpiece and the veil.
Viti: Was it still the veil that covered half your face?
Viti: What did the defendant do when he told the detective it was part of your religion not to look at your face?
Smart: He asked if he could be part of their religion for the day so he could be look at my face.
Viti: How did he respond?
Smart: The defendant was still very calm and very coolly said, "No, only her husband will be able to do that."
Viti: Do you recall if he said what the consequences would be?
Smart: I dont remember.
Viti: How long did the defendant and detective talk to one another?
Smart: It wasnt very long, 5-10 minutes at most.
Viti: Did the defendant, as the time progressed, become more insistent about looking under your veil?
Viti: Did there come a time when the detective left?
Viti: And could you tell the jury how you felt when the detective left?
Smart: I felt like hope was walking out the door.
It's strictly cultural.
If people wish to practice it they should do that in places where folks won't consider it a mask or a badge of slavery and inferiority.
I think the courts have generally found --- and should find --- that govt. should keep its hands off religious practice in most cases except when there is a strong overriding public need. Investigation of abduction, rape and murder, the prevention/prosecution of slavery, theft and fraud: those things, among others, would qualify.
And the more power to the jury, elected lawmakers, and local enforcement (as contrasted to appointed judges, national/international apparatuses, and unelected bureaucrats) the better. Juries, local enforcement and elections serve to keep interpretations reasonable, and to correct abuses.
< I think juries are the single most important thing in our system of government.
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