January 15th, 2013

Vexen Crabtree 2015

ECHR rulings on Chaplin, Eweida, Ladele and McFarlane's cases of suppsed anti-Christian persecution

These were 4 separate cases, I've written them up on "Legislation and Faith: Religious Rights and Religious Wrongs" by Vexen Crabtree (2013).
  • Lillan Ladele refused to deal with same-sex couples in her public sector job.
  • Gary McFarlane refused to treat gay couples equally in his job as a sex counsellor
  • Shirley Chaplin was a nurse who refused to accept that a Christian cross was covered by the prohibition against wearing jewellery around patients.
  • Nadia Eweida refused to accept that British Airway's uniform code meant that she was, as a Christian, also covered by the code
The first three cases were all kicked out because being a Christian is not enough to make yourself exempt from equality law or immune to spreading infectious diseases (a nurse should have known better, really).

The judgement on the two anti-gay Christians (Ladele and McFarlane) was surely correct for many reasons. (1) It is immoral to discriminate against gays - even if you are Christian. (2) The government is impartial and treats people fairly. If you work for the government, it can of course fire you for not treating people respectfully and fairly. (3) If you receive public money, in a democratic country, you can't expect your biases to come before human rights.

The third case, nurses and medical staff cannot wear jewellery because it is KNOWN to be a serious carrier of infectious disease.

The Christian airline stewardess who wanted to wear her cross on the *outside* of her uniform was just being ridiculous and obnoxious - she was offered a job in BA where she didn't have to wear a uniform but turned it down. How she *won* this case was due to BA's short-sightedness in the years following their argument with her.

Read the ECHR's press release here if you want the actual facts... I'm getting the impression most news reports are a little on the sensationalist side! http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/webservices/content/pdf/003-4221189-5014359

None of these cases were anything to do with anti-Christian persecution and the sensationalist reports in the Daily Mail and Telegraph are just plain misinformed and misleading.
    The Telegraph's article by Cristina Odone</i> is beyond being misinformed - it is actually bigotted and irrational. Firstly, she calls the anti-gay defendants "conscientous objectors", betraying the fact that she knows very little about the world. These people *chose* to work with the public, unlike C.O.s who were *forced* to join the military. One of the Christians even lied to get the job by saying that he had no problems with the equality stance. Her summary of the judgements is that one Christian was allowed to wear her cross, and another wasn't. That's as far as she goes into the facts of the cases. I suspect she didn't need to read the case - her commentary was fixed by her own ignorance and prejudice, so it doesn't matter to her what the actual facts are. She hears it involves "aggressive secularism" and she reports it! Poor journalism.
  • The Daily Mail's article just focused on the idiotic Eric Pickles' rant against immigrants. It starts with "traditional religious freedoms are under assault from the ‘intolerance of aggressive secularism’, a Cabinet minister will warn today", not mentioning that by "traditional" he actually means "freedom to be prejudiced against homosexuality while in government pay", and, "freedom to not have to obey dress codes if you're a Christian". Which is of course, not actually aggressive secularism at all, it is merely the lack of pro-Christian bias.
Anyway, both those articles are full of ludicrous, shallow and sensationalist comments from viewers, most of whom have clearly been misled by the articles. I suspect that they will not heed my warnings to go and actually read the ECHR case summary, because it is rather mundane and boring.