Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Victory for religious symbols; defeat for the religious conscience


British Airways check-in worker Nadia Eweida (top right) has won the right to wear a cross at work. The landmark ruling was made by the European Court of Human Rights Today (full judgment HERE). Basically, the Court found that her rights had been violated under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrines the right to be able to manifest religion.

The court said this was because 'a healthy democratic society needs to tolerate and sustain pluralism and diversity; but also because of the value to an individual who has made religion a central tenet of his or her life to be able to communicate that belief to others'.

This is a defeat for the Government, which opposed the case on the basis that religious freedoms apply only to the private sphere (despite the Prime Minister declaring in Parliament that Christians should be allowed to wear the cross at work).

The other claimants all lost their cases. They included nurse Shirley Chaplin, who was taken off ward duties for refusing to remove a cross necklace that she had worn to work for 30 years. In her case, the court ruled: 'The reason for asking her to remove the cross, namely the protection of health and safety on a hospital ward, was inherently of a greater magnitude than that which applied in respect of Ms Eweida.'

Gary McFarlane, a relationships counsellor, and Lillian Ladele, a registrar, had both asked their employers to accommodate their religious conscience in regard to civil partnerships and homosexual relationships. Ms Ladele was disciplined by Islington Council, in London, for refusing to perform same-sex civil partnership ceremonies. Her lawyers argued that employers should make 'reasonable accommodation' for religious beliefs. Mr McFarlane was sacked for gross misconduct by the charity Relate after he said that he would not be able to provide sex therapy to same-sex couples.

Responding to the judgements, the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said: 'Christians and those of other faiths should be free to wear the symbols of their own religion without discrimination. Christians are not obliged to wear a cross but should be free to show their love for and trust in Jesus Christ in this way if they so wish.

‘In July 2012, the General Synod stated that it is the calling of Christians to order and govern their lives in accordance with the teaching of Holy Scripture and to manifest their faith in public life as well as in private. This means giving expression to their beliefs in the written and spoken word, and in practical acts of service to the local community and to the nation.

‘The Equality Act 2010 encourages employers to embrace diversity – including people of faith. Whether people can wear a cross or pray with someone should not be something about which courts and tribunals have to rule.’

His Grace is delighted for Ms Eweida. But it is a curious accommodation of the 'fundamental right' to manifest religious belief in the workplace which permits Roman Catholic doctors and nurses to deprive women of their right to abort their babies, but then forces council workers and charity employees to transgress their consciences on the issue of same-sex relationships. In what sense is a woman's legal right to abortion a lesser right than the right of homosexuals to be civilly partnered?

It is a curious notion of religious liberty that puts symbolic trinkets above the religious conscience. 

135 Comments:

Blogger Corrigan said...

Good man, Cranmer; in all of this secularist bigotry, you still managed to find a way to stick it to the Popeheads, like being forced to perform an abortion is the same as being made to remove a crucifix.

15 January 2013 at 11:41  
Blogger gentlemind said...

Freedom of Religion versus Freedom of Worship. The ECtHR has, in effect, ruled that the cross can be worn as long as it does not affect anybody else. Concede the principle, concede the power.

We are seeing "ethic cleansing" in the public services - barred from contributing to the public health because your views are too...healthy.

15 January 2013 at 12:28  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

Wearing a cross now will put Christians working in the public sector into a suspect class.

Following the advice of the Archbishop of York Christians may remove their crosses.

What happens to a society when the State terminates conscience?

15 January 2013 at 12:35  
Blogger graham wood said...

These rulings make a nonsense of claims by government ministers, as asserted by Mr Jeremy Hunt MP, for example, in an E mail to me today about same-sex marriage

Whilst not an exact parallel since the context is that of SSM, nevertheless the principle remains the same, for the ECHR has driven a coach and horses through minister's naive beliefs about religious freedom, and freedom of conscience in the UK today. Mr Hunt says:

"I would like to make clear that no religious organisation will ever be forced to conduct marriages for same-sex couples and we would not bring in a bill which allowed that. EUROPEAN LAW ALREADY PUTS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM BEYOND DOUBT." (my emphasis)

15 January 2013 at 12:41  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Corrigan

I didn't read this article as an attack on Catholicism. It merely exposed the hypocrisy and double standards of the law which allows for conscious in one area - abortion - and not in another - homosexual relationships. To be consistent the law would allow both or neither. The danger is that this is a forerunner to removing conscious in the area of abortions.

15 January 2013 at 13:06  
Blogger StGerard said...

Hang on a second. What does "provide sex therapy to same-sex couples" actually mean?

15 January 2013 at 13:09  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Read page 48-51 of the judgment lads - a defence of consience. Let's hope every journalist reads it.

15 January 2013 at 13:18  
Blogger Tony B said...

Mr Singh, absurd hysteria. I work in the public sector and often see people wearing crosses. No one actually objects.

15 January 2013 at 13:44  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Dr John Sentamu, Archbishog of York, are you the blind leading the blind? At the very moment when your people need you - you get the point about religiom ('Christans are not obliged to wear the cross') but do you not care if one man's conscience is seared by the hot iron of humanism?

Pah!

15 January 2013 at 13:54  
Blogger Martin Sewell said...

Why would anyone be mad enough to want sex therapy from someone who fundamentally disapproves of their sexual practices/ relationship?

15 January 2013 at 14:02  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Martin, you are being too sensible. This is about crushing orthodox Christian faith.

15 January 2013 at 14:09  
Blogger Martin Sewell said...

Would a Marriage Registrar be permitted to refuse to conduct the wedding of his violent ex son in law to his mistress? If you would make exception in such circumstances why not for religious conscience.

England used to be about pragmatism. The modern insistence on " principles" has not proved beneficial.

15 January 2013 at 14:10  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

What a shame that the rather trivial cases of wearing a piece of jewelry have been included with cases of conscience. Whilst I know the jewelry cases are highlighting the double-standards of most of these secular employers they are not in the same league as the other cases of conscience.

Still, as with Sunday trading, divorce/remarriage, civil partnerships, evolution, etc I suspect most Christians will throw their lot in with the secularists. Very few have any conviction or conscience about very much at all and quite readily bend the clear doctrines of scripture to accommodate their own beliefs so as not to inconvenience their daily lives too much.

15 January 2013 at 14:15  
Blogger StGerard said...

Tony B,
I understand that most people who work in the public sector bear a cross.

15 January 2013 at 15:10  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

Given that Russia is a signatory to the ECHRs and the concept of conscience has been terminated within the framework of human rights - on what ground can the British people criticise Russia's record on gay rights, for example?

15 January 2013 at 16:12  
Blogger Naomi King said...

A very clever judgement which allows everyone to argue the facts whichever why they like, so there won't be much clarity coming out for the general public to understand the issues. So thank you your Grace for exposing the true issue which is that the European Court is, as is the whole of the Europe Machine, a Godless manifestation which has no intension of protecting or promoting faith and virtue, in fact quite the reverse. The sooner we separate ourselves from the sinking ship of Europe the better.

15 January 2013 at 16:21  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Stupid secularists.

15 January 2013 at 16:31  
Blogger StGerard said...

D. Singh,
Huh? How so stupid? What principle established by the Protestant Reformation are the secularists failing to apply?

15 January 2013 at 16:42  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Read pp 48 to 51.

On what ground can the racist Mugabe in Zimbabwe now be criticised?

Stupid atheists.

15 January 2013 at 16:59  
Blogger Albert said...

The airline case is important, as it shows that (contrary to the government's understanding) religion is not purely a private matter. The significance of this should not be underestimated.

The nurse's case, I suspect is right legally. I think that hospitals ought to be able to judge whether crosses contravene hygiene etc. The problem here is that one guesses the hospital is being over-zealous and discriminatory. There are many nurses wearing crosses in other hospitals and many Muslim nurses wear full head covering down to the wrists (far more unhygienic than crosses). A nurse near to retirement told me some time ago that when she first trained, nurse's uniforms never left the hospital and had to be starched before being worn. Now, she said, she sees nurses uniforms around Sainsbury's. It's hard to see how that is hygienic, but crosses are not. So there are grounds for thinking the hospital has hidden it's Christianophobia behind the law here.

The other cases just leave me wondering why secularists and fundamentalist liberals can't just be a bit more tolerant and accommodating. After all, putting someone in the position where they have to choose between their job and their conscience is cruel. (Perhaps only religious people have consciences these days!)

All of this is an embarrassment for the government: not only have they been found supporting the violation of human rights, but also, they have just shot in the foot their own argument about gay "marriage" not being imposed on anyone. On the same day as the Government received legal advice warning of a whole host of legal ramifications of gay "marriage" this will increase the sense that the government is prepared to play fast and loose with basic freedoms. Well done Dave!

15 January 2013 at 17:16  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Well, well. It's Albert!

Welcome back and a Happy New Year.

15 January 2013 at 17:23  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Albert, welcome home.

15 January 2013 at 17:29  
Blogger Albert said...

Happy New Year to you too Dodo. But don't expect me to be back too much!

15 January 2013 at 17:30  
Blogger Albert said...

Thank you D. Singh,

In the words of the chorus in Peter Grimes "Home? Do you call that home?"

15 January 2013 at 17:31  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

So you can't be a Christian and work in your chosen profession in your own country, Britain, unless
you compromise it. Homosexuality and their rights usurp everything else nowadays. I feel fury and almost hatred towards them now, they are ruining society and if they carry on like this gay bashing will most definitely become more prevalent.

15 January 2013 at 17:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...





Interesting point you raise Archbishop, in that RCs can opt out of the abortion on demand ‘human’ right. Does it apply to the lesser Christians called Protestants too ? One wonders how many Anglicans are involved in the slaughter somewhere along the line before turning up on a Sunday demanding women bishops.

Anyway, what’s all this business about registrars and counsellors being obliged to deal with the homosexual community ? Surely the same principal should apply. And besides, if the Inspector was living in queer street, he and his chum would most likely prefer to be serviced by a fellow sufferer for the CP. Same with Relate. Don’t these people understand the only worthwhile advice on anal sex and associated unpleasantries is going to come from a practicing sodomite.

Damn PC crazed organisations…





15 January 2013 at 17:51  
Blogger David Hussell said...

It's a petty sort of "justice" that allows minor religious symbols but sweeps aside deeper matters of conscience and morality. Well done to the legal team and their brave clients but sadly, little has really been gained. The EU courts , like their British counterparts, are really about disrespecting Christian beliefs and conscience. As the generations roll on and even fewer people hold any serious Christian beliefs, let alone possess any Bible knowledge , we can expect the non-understanding to multiply and the anti-Christian pressures to increase and increase. I'm long in the tooth now , although still doing my bit, but if the young Christians are going to retain an active faith throughout their long lives, in the context of this society's trajectory, they are going to need a lot of spiritual support whatever their denomination. Thoughts about practical ways of sustaining their faith need to be shared across the churches , I suggest. This is no time for division. The slope downwards is a long one I fear. " The last taboo " - homosexuality, will not by any means be the final taboo to be broken. To borrow a Churchillian phrase, this is the beginning of the end. We need help from brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world I believe. However the Gospel will not be defeated, the light will never be distinguished.

15 January 2013 at 17:56  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Albert, forgive me, for a moment I forgot we're pilgrims going Home.

15 January 2013 at 17:56  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

At first read through, I'm quite happy with the judgement. For sure, a right against employers for the religious to wear religious stuff has been won but in my experience most employers wouldn't make a fuss anyway about stuff like that anyway.

As the article points out, there's a bit of a quirk there at first glance about conscientious objection regarding abortion. However, a doctor aborting a foetus is directly involved in the moral act. A registrar performing a civil marriage or partnership ceremony is simply enabling others in a legal capacity.

This ought to be the basis of protection for some religious institutions against having to perform religious marriage of same-sex couples. The priest is directly involved in the act through the rite itself unlike, I'd say, the registrar of a civil ceremony.

15 January 2013 at 18:10  
Blogger IanCad said...

You're a mighty blunt fellow OIG, but you do, generally, hit the nail squarely on the head.

15 January 2013 at 18:10  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

David: "The EU courts , like their British counterparts, are really about disrespecting Christian beliefs and conscience."

Just the usual reminder. It's the European Court of Human Rights, which is not a European Union institution. It's related to the Council of Europe, also not a European Union institution, and the European Convention on Human Rights. Hence all the talk of those rights in the judgement.

15 January 2013 at 18:15  
Blogger Roy said...

How many people have ever become registrars because they want to conduct same sex "marriages"? All over the world people who had conducting marriages as part of their job understood that meant marrying a man and a woman. Politicians have arrogantly decided that they have the power to change the definition of marriage and to override the consciences of those who know perfectly well what marriage means.

The same goes for counselling about sex in relationships. Why should counsellors have to chose between their job and their consciences? If they are expected to give advice to homosexuals and lesbians why not sadists, masochists, those into bondage, all sorts of fetishes, "water sports", use of drugs to heighten sexual desire, asphyxiation and other utterly repugnant practices?

15 January 2013 at 18:16  
Blogger len said...

Welcome back Albert.

Thought you had 'jumped ship'.

15 January 2013 at 19:18  
Blogger Albert said...

Thank you Len - that made me chuckle.

15 January 2013 at 19:21  
Blogger michael north said...

It goes against the grain to admit this, but I have to say I think the Eurobeaks got it about right.

1) They upheld the right of someone to wear a tiny religious symbol in a non-problematic setting.

2) The objection to the wearing of a metal object by a nurse seems reasonable on health and safety grounds.

3) The registrar was expected to officiate at civil partnership ceremonies. They are about partnership, that's all; what the couple do when they get home is nobody's business but their own. Marriage is about sex, and to officiate at a same-sex wedding is a different matter altogether. The woman should have held her fire until faced with that challenge.

4) The counsellor could surely have tried to excuse himself on grounds of lack of competence. How is someone supposed to counsel people whose orientation he doesn't share.?

Most of what is written and said about human rights is, at best, twaddle and, at worst, humbug. Too many Christians are ready to adopt self-dramatising postures, not so different from the sado-masochistic hysteria of the homosexualist lobby, with its ravings about "crucifying queers".

15 January 2013 at 19:24  
Blogger michael north said...

It goes against the grain to admit this, but I have to say I think the Eurobeaks got it about right.

1) They upheld the right of someone to wear a tiny religious symbol in a non-problematic setting.

2) The objection to the wearing of a metal object by a nurse seems reasonable on health and safety grounds.

3) The registrar was expected to officiate at civil partnership ceremonies. They are about partnership, that's all; what the couple do when they get home is nobody's business but their own. Marriage is about sex, and to officiate at a same-sex wedding is a different matter altogether. The woman should have held her fire until faced with that challenge.

4) The counsellor could surely have tried to excuse himself on grounds of lack of competence. How is someone supposed to counsel people whose orientation he doesn't share.?

Most of what is written and said about human rights is, at best, twaddle and, at worst, humbug. Too many Christians are ready to adopt self-dramatising postures, not so different from the sado-masochistic hysteria of the homosexualist lobby, with its ravings about "crucifying queers".

15 January 2013 at 19:24  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

IanCad. Too much litigation going on these days, don’t you think ?

Many years ago, what used to be known as ‘Personnel’ retitled themselves as ‘Human Resources’. Happened at a time when the longer your title, the more your salary went up. Always been highly suspicious of those blighters – self serving parasites. Well, the whole idea is that they AVOID litigation by settling issues in house. After all, the employee is supposed to be a blasted valued resource isn’t he, or is that so much bullshit to them now they are highly paid HR Gurus. Not that it’s all one sided, mind...

Why couldn’t the black fella say to his employers, “Look, I know nothing about gay relationships, and once it gets past ‘he’s always leaving the top off the toothpaste’ I’m as stuffed as they are hoping to be”. Anyway, what the hell is Relate bothering about homosexual pairings at all for ! An artificial and perverse and unnatural grouping like that is bound to fail and who cares if it does. Unlike proper marriage, which is the bedrock of society.

Somebody is having a damn laugh at our expense. Step forward the lawyers. Crafty bleeders, the lot of them...

15 January 2013 at 19:33  
Blogger Bridget said...

@Michael North:
'4) The counsellor could surely have tried to excuse himself on grounds of lack of competence. How is someone supposed to counsel people whose orientation he doesn't share.?

Rather, who better to counsel than he or she who does not share the disorientation? He should have taken the opportunity to set them right.

15 January 2013 at 20:02  
Blogger bluedog said...

As you have frequently pointed out Yor Grace, the ruling of this court and others leads inevitably to a hierarchy of rights.

The antidote is to establish, in the first instance, a hierarchy of courts.

Irrespective of the path of Britain's EU membership, it is clear that acceptance of the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights is just as damaging to the sovereignty of the United Kingdom as acceptance of EU diktat. The obvious remedy is for the UK to formally reject the ECHR.

It therefore remains for UKIP to adopt as a central plank of its policy that the UK should leave the ECHR. The Tory Eurosceptics would possibly support this initiative. Pressure needs to be applied to the government in the form of civil disobedience and outright revolt at ECHR rulings.

Dave would prevaricate for six months, redrafting his speech on the proposed British withdrawal from ECHR, before deferring to an important Franco-German anniversary and making a rushed announcement. One must follow precedent.

15 January 2013 at 20:23  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

15 January 2013 at 20:38  
Blogger Preacher said...

The results of this case are not really surprising. Really It's a policy of suppression. The cases should never have been brought in the first place.
The respective employers are to blame for the waste of time & money incurred. Whatever the beliefs, or lack of them held by the employers in two of these cases, they could have been resolved by common sense. Were there other registrars or does Islington only have One? In the same way, does Relate only employ One counsellor? The intelligent way would have been to use people who had no issues with homosexuality to fulfil the requirements in question.
But instead in an effort to appear in touch & contemporary, they have decided to opt for suppressing the religious beliefs of these two people & in true Marxist fashion chosen a showcase trial.
Although the N.H.S does a sterling job, I would question the third case, as I would have thought that the general cleanliness of wards, theatres & other areas that have proved breeding grounds for some of the 'Superbugs' would have been a higher priority than a Cross worn by a member of staff.

Not long ago Homosexuality was a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment & these people were persecuted in the same way by a society that in the same way saw themselves as contemporary & self righteous in their interpretation of the law. Resulting in many miscarriages of justice, the case of Oscar Wilde being a case in point.
Now the the pendulum has swung in completely the opposite direction.

Personally I feel that the Church must bear some responsibility for this state of affairs, as for some time now many of us have shirked our responsibility to preach the Full Gospel that warns mankind of the wrath & judgement of God to come, only balanced by His outrageous love & grace in giving us all the opportunity of accepting the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ to atone for our sins.
But to often this essential part of the gospel is omitted in case it offends some of the congregation. So the Word of God is edited again & again, until what started as the Bible, ends up more like the Beano. Yet we expect people to listen & respect the message.
Men have died rather than deny the truths contained in the Bible & it's obvious that the time has come to stand up for what we believe or leave the arena. We fight not against flesh & blood, but against Principalities & Powers in the Heavenlies. Be Bold, Be Strong, stand firm. The Victory is already won.

15 January 2013 at 20:46  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

The judgement reveals an interesting detail about the GayNazi and how they operate.

Informal arrangements to accommodate Ms Ladele's conscientious objections to homosexual civil partnerships started to break down. Why?

In March 2006 two colleagues complained that her refusal to carry out her duties was "discriminatory". It appears the poor dears were being inconvenienced. By May 2007 the atmosphere in the office had deteriorated and the Council received complaints from "homosexual colleagues that they felt victimised." And there we have it.

For goodness sake! How many civil partnerships were being conducted in Islington at the time? This was a failure of management to stand up to bully by homosexuals playing the victim card - an all too familiar tactic.

15 January 2013 at 20:48  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Ask yourself - would a Christian heterosexual couple want marriage guidance (that's what 'Relate' used to be called) from an atheist homosexual? I think not. So why would a homosexual *couple* want counselling from a heterosexual Christian?

15 January 2013 at 21:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Preacher: "The cases should never have been brought in the first place."

I've been saying that for a while. I blame the Christian Institute, the CLC, and similar political lobby groups. They've been trying to get cases to the Supreme Court or the European Court for a while now. I pointed out that when they get some there, they might not like the result and might wish they'd left well alone. Well, here we are.

15 January 2013 at 21:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

They've also been heavily pushing a narrative of Christian persecution through the media, which is hardly the case on the ground, and now some Christians feel like they're somehow being persecuted. Yet I've never worked for an employer who has been bothered about lapel crosses. In fact, they've all made it easy for devout Muslims to do their daily prayer thing with dignity. One in Leicester held an annual Diwali meal every year prior to the Christmas event.

15 January 2013 at 21:35  
Blogger ukFred said...

Trevor Philips, head honcho at the Equality and Human Rights commission has said that the freedom to practice one's religion ends at the door of the temple. I wonder how many others of us are sufficiently Christian to find Philips words offensive or to be persecuted in this way?

I do not know how long Ms.Ladelle and Mr. MacFarlane were employed, but if they were employed before the laws changed, why can they not have protection 'grandfathered' in to their employment contract if they did not wish to perform such duties.

15 January 2013 at 21:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Fred: "I wonder how many others of us are sufficiently Christian to find Philips words offensive or to be persecuted in this way?"

I'm an atheist and I think what he's advocating is extreme there if that's what he said. People should be free to manifest their beliefs in public as private individuals, subject of course to the qualifications in Part 2 of Article 9.

15 January 2013 at 21:47  
Blogger Preacher said...

Danjo.
But would you not agree that the whole thing was started by bad management in the first place?.
When all is said & done the trail leads back to the employers. I don't believe that for one moment that they really care about the rights of the homosexual community, but only in posturing that they have adopted the modern contemporary correct P.C attitude in the circumstances.
As with the SSM question, it's only a small minority of homosexuals that are making a fuss. the rest of you guys just want to get on with your lives.
IMO, many 'Official' bodies blow with the wind & support whatever is currently in vogue.

15 January 2013 at 21:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Preacher, I think it's probably six of one and half a dozen of the other. Human Resources departments aren't Personnel departments interested in employee wellbeing, they're employment law people whose job it is to make sure the company isn't sued. We're in a rights culture now where some people, not just the religious either, are looking to be offended. I suspect some of these Christian cases have come about because people have seen Muslims assert their rights and companies bend over rather than risk a bad reputation in a racism row. It's created militancy in people who one wouldn't expect to be militant.

15 January 2013 at 21:56  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Preacher

If you read the judgement you'll see Ms Ladele's situation was aggravated by her homosexual *colleagues* who complained her behaviour victimised them. Clearly her employers lacked courage and should have stood their ground. Bit as you say, they bend in the wind.

People should be free not only to manifest their beliefs but also to live by their consciences unless there is clear proof it actively discriminates against another person entitled to a public service. In neither of these two cases (civil partnerships or Relate counselling) was this demonstrated.

15 January 2013 at 22:06  
Blogger Preacher said...

I can see what you are saying, but as the people involved were already employed by the organisations it seems that they were forced out of their occupations by poor management & forced to take legal action to defend their right to earn a living in their chosen professions when the whole issue should have been rectified in a mutually acceptable way.
instead a high stakes game of poker has resulted, with the tax payer buying the respective councils chips.

15 January 2013 at 22:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm afraid I don't have much sympathy for the registrar, I see no reason why she can't just do her job. It's not conscientious objection to me there. I don't know enough about the relationship counsellor's issue. Were they expecting him to do sex therapy with same-sex couples? If so then I can see how that would be uncomfortable if nothing else.

15 January 2013 at 22:25  
Blogger John Magee said...

Crosses?

Who is "offended" by a cross? Dracula is of course. Atheists and Muslims. Naturally.

When will the crosses of St. George, St Andrew, and St Patrick which make up the Union Jack be found "offensive" by some atheist group or more likely by Muslims?

This is not as crazy as it sounds.

If a tiny cross worn on the neck by a female employee at work "offends" them seeing crosses on a flag every day must drive them out of their minds with outrage.

What must they think of the Crosses on the flags of the Scandinavian countries or the Swiss flag? They are "offended of course and sooner or later they will demand these flags change and get rid of those "offensive" crosses.

The Political Corrective "offensive symbols police squad" is busy thinking about this sort of thing I promise you.

Why didn't the geniuses who created the EU not allow a bill of rights written to protect the people of the EU from possible EU extreme abuses of the people's rights? Why didn't they look at the USA Constitution who's first ten amendments protects the people FROM their government.

In an age of political corrctness which guides governments decisions rather that the will of the majority or common sense. People who are "offended" by the majority culture, those unhappy minorities filing "discrimination" law suits, can only get worse and more ridiculous. They will, however, be taken very seriously by the EU Courts.

How could you ever have let yourselves get in this position?

15 January 2013 at 23:16  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

15 January 2013 at 23:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. You can’t see any problem because you are a gay atheist man. As we know, you types are rare, so let’s have no more opining from you as if you actually represented any worthwhile group , what !

15 January 2013 at 23:20  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

You can’t see any problem because you are a gay atheist man.

I am neither gay nor atheist, and I also do not see the problem. You can't unreasonably qualify your duties. It is mind-bogglingly trivial for me to come up with examples (*cough* white man marrying a black woman *cough*) where a religious objection would meet with no sympathy. Religiion is not a 'get out of jail free' card.

The problem is that the law no longer reflects Christian presuppositions. We cannot say "Well, my actions should be conditioned on the assumption that the law does reflect those presuppositions." What does this mean? It means we will have to be willing to make sacrifices for the Faith. Those sacrifices by the way are a testimony to the unbelieving world.

carl

15 January 2013 at 23:38  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

The Aussies, not a people I usually support, seem to be getting this one correct.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has given her word to religious groups that they will have the “freedom” under a new rights bill to discriminate against homosexuals people and other people deemed sinners.

Faith-based organisations can refuse to employ people if “necessary to avoid injury to the religious sensitivities of adherents of that religion”.

There is no intention of changing this freedom of religion and the legal right to discriminate will remain. Employers with religious status are allowed to vet the sexual orientation of potential employees.

Ms Gillard has also affirmed marriage will be defined as it is in current law as between a man and a woman. She also said that “we do not want to see the development of ceremonies that mimic marriage ceremonies”.

(Pink News bloggers are going ape-sh*t over this threatening to withhold the 'Pink £' and hysterically ranting against religion. It's an eye opener reading their opinions!)

15 January 2013 at 23:39  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Inspector said...

"DanJ0. You can’t see any problem because you are a gay atheist man. As we know, you types are rare, so let’s have no more opining from you as if you actually represented any worthwhile group , what !"

I say old chap, don't hurt his feelings now! You can be somewhat brusque at times, if you don't my saying so. He is on the sensitive side and we wouldn't want him thinking you're bullying him. One must politely and rationally dissent from his views. What!

15 January 2013 at 23:44  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

@ Danj0 21:56

Pitting rights against rights can't be good for a healthy, prosperous, co-operative tolerant society. I agree it stirs up militancy and anger and is a destructive way to control society.
I think too many lawyers have occupied the seats in Downing Street for far too long and have copied the American culture of people suing each other for the slightest little hurt and upset which is not the British way of doing things. It's going too far.

The Human Rights Act 1998 ought to be banished to the bonfire along with Teflon Tony and his greedy bitch of a wife who brought in this torturous stuff. We survived quite nicely before thank you. Why are European lawyers telling us what we can and cannot do in our own country? Haven't we got any of our own? They must feel thwarted and undermined?

15 January 2013 at 23:56  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Carl said ...

"The problem is that the law no longer reflects Christian presuppositions. We cannot say "Well, my actions should be conditioned on the assumption that the law does reflect those presuppositions." What does this mean? It means we will have to be willing to make sacrifices for the Faith. Those sacrifices by the way are a testimony to the unbelieving world."

I hear this but think you're being premature and presenting a defeatist argument.

Christians surely have a duty to defend the rights we currently have, even accepting we are on the path to defeat. At present there are legal clauses in Britain protecting the rights of faith groups at work. The right to manifest one's faith and to exercise one's conscience are worthy of preservation. Simply surrendering them is not an option.

Christians maybe facing an imminent Dunkirk in Britain but until this retreat is upon us we must continue to promote our rights within a supposedly pluralistic and diverse society. Anything less is cowardice in the face of the enemy. We learned from Munich not to appease aggression.

15 January 2013 at 23:58  
Blogger John Magee said...

@ Carl

Not sacrifices for our faith. Martyrs for the faith. Our society capitulated beginning 40 years ago. The struggle is over and the fight begins. It's been a slow trek to the surrender we see today. The sacrifices by fighting the governemnt in Congress should have been made when we had the chance when we had the majority to stop this insanity. What we see today was a stealth attack on our values using the valid civil rights movement allied with the far left and their agenda to destroy our society. We see this fruition today and it's irreversable. As I said here before. The issue of Gay "marriage" isn't about that weird concept in and of itself. Civil unions for Gays were fine with over 70% of the population. It was the left's ability at last to be in a position to have the government force any church, synagogue, or mosque which refuses to perform a gay "marriage", because of their core religious beliefs, when asked by a Gay couple to be made into an act of discrimination by the church against a minority. then the government steps in with it's discrimination law suits and will come down on the church legally, using civil rights laws, like a ton of bricks. This will happen I promise you and we will see priests and ministers go to jail over this issue within our lifetime.

@ Marie

"I think too many lawyers have occupied the seats in Downing Street for far too long and have copied the American culture of people suing each other for the slightest little hurt and upset".

You are 100% correct!

This litigation mania and curse in we have in the USA was brought about after the Civil Rights Laws passed in 1965. It started the "era of the offended" and enabled some laywers (barristers) to see a qick and easy money making opportunity in everything from an accident to racial discrimination. Some of our black civil rights leaders have made tens of million of $ extorting companies and corporations over phoney discrimation law suits. The mere threat of a law suit brought by these extortionists scared companies so much they paid cash to these liars and their shyster lawyers in out of court settlemets. Don't let this happen in your country.We allowed lawyers (barristers) and law firms to advertise on TV and the radio starting in the 1970's. My father was a barrister and he was profoundly shocked about this concept back tghen and predicted what has finally happened. Litigation mania.

The liberals love this concept. They have no shame.

16 January 2013 at 01:28  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Some interesting observations made by His Grace.

The issues raised against the individuals are striking for several reasons,

In the case of the nurse I find it amazing that health and safety are raised as risks when wearing a small cross, 'The reason for asking her to remove the cross, namely the protection of health and safety on a hospital ward, was inherently of a greater magnitude than that which applied in respect of Ms Eweida.' Yet Sikhs can wear bangles and Muslims can get concession on dress codes in the hospital workplace that others cannot, so that religious liberty is given to one faith yet denied to another, by secularists that decide if one persons faith is sufficiently believed by one but not another..(Muslim doctors and nurses are allowed for religious reasons to opt out of strict NHS dress codes introduced to prevent the spread of deadly hospital superbugs.

The Department of Health has announced that female Muslim staff will be permitted to cover their arms on hospital wards to preserve their modesty.
This is despite earlier guidance that all staff should be ‘bare below the elbow’ after long sleeves were blamed for spreading bacteria, leading to superbug deaths.)
It is well known that Islamic experts are divided about how Muslim women should dress as the Koran is ambiguous on the matter yet the concession is given immediately by the government. But as DanJo has stated regarding those Christians and B & B, should not the Muslim or Sikh offenders of health and safety rules in hospitals etc, look for alternative means of employment/business if they cannot adhere to the rules without supposed 'religious' concessions? one rule for one but one for another.

The no smoking policy by companies in the workplace in the 1990's bears a striking resemblance to what is happening with christian faith in our society, as a model of changing the law through unsubstantiated facts at the time and imagined lawsuits.

The issue of smoking at work (or 'The issue of being a Christian in the workplace' ;-o )covered three areas of law: employment law (are you in breach of an implied policy at work),
personal injury law (will this cause personal injury to others under Tort Law, either physically or psychologically,) and the law on health and safety at work (Is what you wear an occupational hazard to others safety and their continued health).

This was introduced on a massive scale by companies after Veronica Bland took Stockport Council to court but accepted an out of court settlement as it was highly unlikely to succeed but set the precedent for companies establishing their own policies, for their own reasons.
TO DATE NO CASE HAS SUCCEEDED, ONLY OUT OF COURT SETTLEMENTS, yet the policy was introduced!

All the above cases against Christians appear to be sort of test cases run through the courts by a company or an employee having to take a constructive dismissal stance asserting the existence of such an implied term and a continuing breach of it, and seeking declaratory relief (A declaratory judgment is the legal determination of a court as to the legal position of litigants in cases where there is doubt as to their position in law. It is a form of LEGALLY BINDING preventive adjudication.).

Dr Sentamu said..'Christians are not obliged to wear a cross but should be free to show their love for and trust in Jesus Christ in this way if they so wish.' Must it be stated 'obliged' in our Christian faith to wear a cross or a fish (the original symbol of Christians) before it is given the 'OK'. It appears that Muslims are NOT, as seen in Muslim countries that do not adhere to what the 'moderate' Muslim says, who have arrived here from these states but god help the secularist who tells them what they are 'obliged' or 'not obliged' about their faith as they see it!!

Blofeld

16 January 2013 at 02:23  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

ps



"Gary McFarlane, a relationships counsellor, and Lillian Ladele, a registrar, had both asked their employers to accommodate their religious conscience in regard to civil partnerships and homosexual relationships. Ms Ladele was disciplined by Islington Council, in London, for refusing to perform same-sex civil partnership ceremonies. Her lawyers argued that employers should make 'reasonable accommodation' for religious beliefs. Mr McFarlane was sacked for gross misconduct by the charity Relate after he said that he would not be able to provide sex therapy to same-sex couples."
This is all about whether it is acceptable for a Christian to lead or be an accomplice in KNOWINGLY sinning with another before God. This is unacceptable But then our western society has long given up on the definition of what sin really is and it's implications for us and society at large!!

Thin end of a wedge but His Grace does not appear to see it as such. (Governments expect others to take the stance that certain behaviour is unacceptable, then they back up the action with laws as has been done with the smoking ban when it first started).

It has become a kind of secular inquisition that stretches out before we Christians and it is only the beginning. Soon a Bible will be a Health and Safety offense with personal injury implications for others if caught reading it, discussing it or simply having it in your desk drawer at work.

The Word of God is offensive, don't ya knows.

Blofeld

16 January 2013 at 02:25  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

PPS

If we have to attend hospital, as patient, what do you reckon the chances would be to opt out to be treated by all Muslim doctors/nurses as there would be a distinct possibility that we will be exposed to a greater risk of catching a hospital acquired infection than those who roll their sleeves up to there elbows and scrub clean.

But then as Ernst has stated, if any medic is offended by these NHS requirements on H & S they obviously shouldn’t be working in health care if they can’t follow the rules of hygiene like others do and perhaps they are in the wrong profession and a career change should be considered.

Or patients should tell the managers of the hospital they will sue for negligence if they catch an infection and have been in contact with staff that refuse the principles of basic hygiene.

But what if the offending doctor/nurse sues old Ernst or another for racially/islamophobic motivated distress as a result of being singled out for the colour of his skin or religion rather than making Ernst ill and walks away with a truck load of taxpayers money.

Blofeld

16 January 2013 at 03:03  
Blogger Plutarchos said...

Ever noticed that thousands of people who don't have a clue about Christianity wear crosses? The cross did not function as a symbol in early Christianity and the early Calvinist reformation, which your grace must be part of, was generally and vehemently against Christians using this symbol for public display. Words and behaviour communicate a Christian spirit.

16 January 2013 at 04:44  
Blogger D. Singh said...

This case is not a defeat of just the 'religious' conscience. It is a defeat of conscience in Britain and Europe.


European human rights law has returned to a pre-human rights position. That is why the dissenting judges refer to Nazism.

16 January 2013 at 05:41  
Blogger Naomi King said...

It was only a couple of weeks ago that it was determined in the Court of Appeal that a Christian had to work on Sunday because "Attending Church was not a core practice of Christianity." Now Christian employees are being forced by employers to undertake tasks such as advise people on how to 'perfect' demonic sexual practices or to register a ceremony mimicking marriage for the purpose of sanctifying such sinful behaviour or be unemployed. This is called ghettoisation of Christians and Christianity.

16 January 2013 at 06:07  
Blogger non mouse said...

Really. I don't get it.

Why does any Briton, born and bred, accept the jurisdiction of a foreign court?

Here we all are - arguing on and on and on and on, ad infinitum , about issues marxist decons deliberately use to set us at each other's throats - but ignoring the fact that european so-called law is superseding no-longer-existent British Law. Wonderful, respectworthy, long negotiated, hard-won, proud, BRITISH LAW.

We should be demonstrating in the streets and doing whatever is necessary to re-patriate our freedoms and rights AS A NATION.

But no. Not us. We just lie down and let them trample all over us.

Poor, weak, pathetic, brainwashed fools that we now are.

16 January 2013 at 06:09  
Blogger Naomi King said...

And this is what is coming ... It doesn't give much comfort does it

BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
January 14, 2013 3:09 pm

An American-Iranian pastor imprisoned in Tehran since September may face hanging because of his Christian faith. Saeed Abedini sent a letter to his family Jan. 10 detailing his torture and treatment by Iranian authorities.

The Jerusalem Post reports:

The U.S. State Department expressed “serious concerns” about Abedini’s situation on Friday.

Jordan Sekulow, the executive director of the Washington-based American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) wrote to the The Jerusalem Post on Friday, “This is an extremely critical time for American Pastor Saeed and his family. We now know with certainty, from his own words, the brutality and life-threatening danger he faces in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison.”

“In a powerful letter from him released to family members in Tehran, Pastor Saeed reveals that he is undergoing beatings and is being told that he ‘will hang’ for his Christian faith. That treatment combined with the recent news that Pastor Saeed’s case has been turned over to one of Iran’s ‘hanging judges’ makes his circumstances more dire than ever,” Sekulow said.

Abedini became an American citizen in 2010 after marrying his American wife, Naghmeh Abedini, according to FOX News.

The Iranian government does not recognize his American citizenship, though it had enabled him to travel freely between both countries until this past summer. That’s when he was pulled off a bus and placed under house arrest, according to his supporters. Abedini was then imprisoned and charged with several crimes that have not been made public, but it is widely believed that it is because of his Christian faith.

Jihadists and allies of the ruling mullahs target Christians living in Iran.

Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, an expert on Iran who has written extensively on the persecution of Christians in the Islamic Republic, told the Post on Saturday, that Abedini’s case was “an example of the insidious and perfidious policy of the Islamist dictatorship” in Tehran, adding that “the main goal of the rulers is to intimidate Christians and Iranians who are interested to leave Islam and change their religion.” […]

“The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and representatives of Islamic Jihad even play the role of pastors in churches in Isfahan to “guide” the Christians and teach them that Islam is better,” Wahdat-Hagh stated.

16 January 2013 at 06:15  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

6:09
And how and why did it all happen? the 'kick me and I will apologise' character of Britain. Fear? Cowardice? Laziness ?Apathy? Opening the doors and putting down the welcome door mat to terrorists etc. What happened to the spirit of those Brits ( probably all dead now)of WW 2?
How does one change the psyche of an entire nation that has gone soft and compliant.?

16 January 2013 at 06:51  
Blogger Naomi King said...

The EU is going one way - towards a post-democratic autocracy - where we cannot follow them and remain in any sense a free nation. Cameron refuses to admit this and is therefore guilty of deception. We are sick of being lied to. We want out. And if Cameron can't represent the views of the 85% odd percent of Conservatives who agree, we want him out too. The issue is a simple one: Do we want to proceed towards eventual political union or not, i.e. the declared aim of the EU. Slow/fast lane, two tier, etc are irrelevances. It's like wanting to stretch a pregnancy from 9 to 18 months - the same outcome but prolonging the discomfort. Trade and cooperation on defence, crime and other aspects can be achieved in other ways. Surely no-one seriously feels that there would be some sort of trade sanctions against us if we left? Better good neighbours than grumpy bedfellows. Let there be a straightforward referendum focussing on whether or not we want to be part of the United States of Europe with all that that means. Now it takes little to see that the EU is a seriously unpleasaqnt thing, determined to hang on to the Euro at all costs for reasons of pride despite causing cruel levels of unemployment in countries such as Greece and Spain. The PC culture which stfiles free speech and undervalues the past. The UKIP snowball is gathering size and momentum, and Cameron could well get flattened. And, to be fair, he deserves it.

16 January 2013 at 07:38  
Blogger graham wood said...

Well said Naomi.

In the end it must be an In/Out referendum on EU membership.

We must remember also that it is the EU and its manic obsession with false views of "equality" which is responsible for muc of the 'equality industry' and the "gay rights" agenda in the UK.
DC has no backbone, principle, or any understanding of what he professes to believe in, namely Christianity.
He must go.

16 January 2013 at 08:58  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Given that the European Court of Human Rights has surrendered conscience into the iron fist of the State; what will happen to children, parents and teachers when marriage is redefined?


1,000 Roman Catholic priests have spoken out in the defence of all people in this nation.


When will the priests in my church speak out?


When there is no one left to speak out for them?

16 January 2013 at 09:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "I say old chap, don't hurt his feelings now! You can be somewhat brusque at times, if you don't my saying so. He is on the sensitive side and we wouldn't want him thinking you're bullying him. One must politely and rationally dissent from his views. What!"

I see you and your sidekick are trying to trash yet another of the blog owner's threads with your pointless goads to cause trouble.

16 January 2013 at 09:56  
Blogger BeeLZeeBub said...

HA HA HA HA.

Idiots.

16 January 2013 at 10:07  
Blogger Roy said...

non mouse said...

Really. I don't get it.

Why does any Briton, born and bred, accept the jurisdiction of a foreign court?


Well, according to the Act of Supremacy 1558 no foreign court or government (including the EU Commission) should have any authority in England and Wales.

Act of Supremacy 1558
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_of_Supremacy_1558

“I A. B. do utterly testify and declare in my conscience, That the Queen's Highness is the only Supream Governor of this Realm, and of all other her Highness Dominions and Countries, as well in all Spiritual or Ecclesiastical Things or Causes, as Temporal; and that no foreign Prince, Person, Prelate State or Potentate, hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction, Power, Superiority, Preheminence, or Authority Ecclesiastical or Spiritual, within this Realm; and therefore I do utterly renounce and forsake all foreign Jurisdictions, Powers, Superiorities and Authorities, and do promote, that from henceforth I shall bear faith and true Allegiance to the Queen’s Highness, her Heirs and lawful Successors, and to my Power shall assist and defend all Jurisdictions, Preheminences, Privileges and Authorities granted or belonging to the Queen’s Highness, her Heirs and Successors, or united and annexed to the Imperial Crown of this Realm. So help me God, and by the Contents of this Book.”

16 January 2013 at 10:09  
Blogger bluedog said...

Well said non mouse @ 0609, completely agree.

At the risk of re-stating the bleeding obvious, don't argue about the finding, just reject the court. Any competent Prime Minister would have an enabling bill in front of the House of Commons within 24 hours.

It's that simple.

16 January 2013 at 11:33  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr DanJO @ 09.56, a fascinating study indeed.

One can only conclude that the verkrampte Catholicism is a palliative for the identity crisis that the communicant continually talks about. Having established this singular identity, the stance is further reinforced by carefully referenced declarations that others are not Christian or more importantly, not Catholic. And some of them seem to defer! How they can let themselves be crushed by the communicant's ego tripping as a one man Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is beyond comprehension.

16 January 2013 at 11:58  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

Would you support a conscience clause that allows a man to refuse to issue a marriage license to a mixed-race couple? If you say "No" you demolish your own position. You are admitting that there are limits on the extent to which religion can be used to qualify duties. If you say "Yes" you have made your own position contemptible. So which is it? This is not an equation of homosexuality with race. It is an examination of the limit on the exemption from reasonable responsibilities that an employee may demand on the basis of religion. You can't just say "My religion forbids that, so you can't make me do it." Yes, he can. The employee always has the option of quitting if his conscience is sufficiently provoked. He doesn't after all have a right to employment under his own terms. And there are numerous examples where you would agree with me on this - that religious exemption should not apply.

So why then is this case special, and why do these plaintiffs deserve special treatment?

carl

16 January 2013 at 13:17  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Why this is a case of conscience and not religious freedom

Article 9

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion [Note: three distinct concepts]; this right includes...to manifest...in practice and observance.
(2) Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations... [Note: the concept of ‘conscience’ is missing in Article 9(2)]...

One of the third party interveners, the European Centre for Law and Justice, distinguished between the different obligations of ‘religion’ and ‘conscience’. Essentially religion might obligate you to wear a cross, attend a synagogue on a Saturday or church on a Sunday – all these actions may be curtailed by Article 9(2).

As the dissenting judges point out once a serious and genuine case of conscientious objection is established, the State is obliged to respect the individual’s conscience.

In this case the majority, and the British government, accepted that Ladele had established a serious and genuine conscientious objection. What the majority then did was to submerge the established conscientious objection into a State’s discretion (as to whether or not it should respect or disrespect that conscientious objection) – unjustifiably – and thereby, like Pontius Pilate, wash their hands. As the dissenting judges point out, it does not matter whether a State has a wide or narrow margin of discretion – once a serious and genuine conscientious objection has been established – a State is obliged to protect it (if it will not – then human rights mean nothing).

Protecting conscience was put into the European Convention of Human Rights (after the horrors of Auschwitz): ‘[T]o avoid that obeying one’s conscience must still require payment in heroism that the law now guarantees freedom of conscience’.

The secularists, humanists and socialists have reversed the gains in human rights law achieved since the construction and destruction of the gas chambers: that is their unique contribution to post-democratic Britain and Europe.

16 January 2013 at 13:25  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Carl

But what recognised religion today forbids marriages between couples of couples with different skin pigmentation? However, anyone so minded can take their case to court and see if the law covers such freedom of religious expression. If there is a finding against the plaintiff, then they lose.

I wouldn't support such a conscientious objection, no. However, this doesn't undermine the principle that articles of faith can and should be defended under the law.

It's only a question of time until the situation of circumcision reaches a court. Do you believe this should be defended or that Muslims and Jews should leave Europe or comply with the law?

As things stand, Europe claims to be pluralistic and diverse, with protection for people of different faiths as well as gender/sex, sexual orientation, disabilities, ethnic minorities etc. The law is there to achieve a balance when these rights conflict.

Ultimately, I believe religion may be marginalised and will have little or no protection under the law. But, as I said, I don't believe we should simply withdraw from the fight now.

16 January 2013 at 13:45  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

I think you make an important point, but it is perfectly possible to play back the point in the opposite direction. Indeed, two of the judges, who disagreed with the judgement, did so. As the Telegraph reports, with quotations from these judges:

They said Miss Ladele was a “genuine and serious” conscientious objector whose freedom of conscience the state “is obliged to respect”.

“Freedom of conscience has in the past all too often been paid for in acts of heroism, whether at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition or of a Nazi firing squad,” they said.

They said her case was that she was a victim of “back-stabbing” and “blinkered” thinking by the council adding: “Instead of practising the tolerance and the ‘dignity for all’ it preached, the Borough of Islington pursued the doctrinaire line, the road of obsessive political correctness.

“It effectively sought to force the applicant to act against her conscience or face the extreme penalty of dismissal – something which ... cannot be deemed necessary in a democratic society.”


Just because, as you say The employee always has the option of quitting if his conscience is sufficiently provoked does not alter the fact, that it would be wrong for someone to be dismissed from their job for refusing to be a Nazi or a Catholic. So to build a question from these judges' comments:

Would you support an employer's right to sack a person who refused to join the Nazi party or the Catholic Church?"

If you say "No" you demolish your own position. You are admitting that there are limits on the extent to which an employer can compel and employee. If you say "Yes" you have made your own position contemptible.
(except that I recognise, you are more putting up a debating position rather than expressing your own).

There is a further problem of consistency also. Some years ago an Anglican bishop found a court rule against him because he refused to employ and active homosexual as a youth worker. He said such a life-style prevented him from doing his job. The court over-ruled him.

16 January 2013 at 14:01  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

the Nazi party or the Catholic Church

Wait. Is there a difference? ;)

(Just kidding, Dodo. Just Kidding. Sheesh.)

Would you support an employer's right to sack a person who refused to join the Nazi party or the Catholic Church?

You are not making a fair comparison. Membership in either group is not relevant to issuing marriage licenses. An employer engages an employee to perform a certain task. The employer has the right to expect the employee to fulfill that task within reason. The employee responds "I don't want to perform certain portions of that task because they would violate my conscience." Well, tough. The employee doesn't have the right to employment under his own terms.

Which is why I asked about mixed-race marriages. There are people out there who think it immoral on religious grounds for people of different races to marry. Dodo tried to answer this argument by making a distinction between legitimate and illegitimate religion. But I don't think that is the basis of the claimed exemption. The standard is "genuine and serious" conscientious objection. One who objects to racial mixing can easily meet that standard. And yet I can find no reason to recognize that position either morally or legally - other than to protect a blanket right of religious objection. And that is not a tenable position.

carl

16 January 2013 at 14:29  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Imagine for example the following (not so very hypothetical) example:

"I cannot work for a woman! I am a Muslim!"

My wife's cousin was a Crew Chief in a fighter squadron deployed to Saudi Arabia prior to Desert Storm. His commanding officer was a woman. The Saudis would not even acknowledge her presence.

carl

16 January 2013 at 14:45  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

You are not making a fair comparison. Membership in either group is not relevant to issuing marriage licenses. An employer engages an employee to perform a certain task. The employer has the right to expect the employee to fulfill that task within reason. The employee responds "I don't want to perform certain portions of that task because they would violate my conscience." Well, tough. The employee doesn't have the right to employment under his own terms.

I'm not so sure. Joseph Ratzinger's father was a policeman before the Nazis came to power. He found he could no longer do the job under the Nazis so he left. I don't think I would answer him Well, tough. The employee doesn't have the right to employment under his own terms.

We can hardly agree with that comment on the one hand and on the other complain when people use the Nuremberg defence. The point the judges are making is that conscientious objection should be protected in the work place. Given European history, how could they not?

The underlying issue is that of "reasonable accommodation". Could these institutions have reasonably accommodated their workers consciences? Yes, they could. They chose not to. Why did they make that choice? The minority report from the judgement has seen through the smokescreen:

“Instead of practising the tolerance and the ‘dignity for all’ it preached, the Borough of Islington pursued the doctrinaire line, the road of obsessive political correctness.
“It effectively sought to force the applicant to act against her conscience or face the extreme penalty of dismissal – something which ... cannot be deemed necessary in a democratic society.”


You have not answered my point about consistency and the Anglican bishop. The point grasped by the minority report is that, one community has been exalted to the degree that other human rights are denied.

There is a further point here: these matters have arisen because the Government has invalidly moved from "homosexual persons are equal to heterosexual persons" to "Therefore, homosexual relationships are equal to heterosexual relationships." In a culture as plural as ours, laws should not be made that impose the claims of only part of society against another, if you do, you end up having to violate the much greater right: freedom of conscience.

16 January 2013 at 15:19  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Carl

But isn't that why there is a legal system to judge the relevance and reasonableness of expressed religious beliefs and to ensure some form of balance between competing beliefs? As I say we can't just abandon the field of battle.

And, by the way, I believe, in the wrong hands, the institutions of the Catholic Church could be, and possibly has been in the past, as all encompassing and oppressive as the Nazi Party, if not worse. I have no problem with accepting that evil seeks to do its work through human hands, including the Church - and always will.

16 January 2013 at 15:24  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Naomi @ 7:38 Well said.

Much of this time wasting and expensive squabbling about religious freedoms and consciences and who has which freedom and what would be ironed out if Christianity were to hold priority position in Britain. Muslims, Siki's and other religions would be limited to wearing and doing stuff that was within our Christian boundaries. No long sleeves in hospitals no burkhas, no turbans and daggers, no blocking the roads with street prayers on a Friday, etc etc... Practising Christians Ladele would be excused from her duties of conducting civil partnerships on behalf of the state, McFarlane would also be excused of having to council homosexuals, Chaplin would be able to continue to wear her small cross as she has done for 30 years as it presents no H&S hazards unlike muslims with their bacteria ridden long sleeves.

Maintaining a Christian country would save the tax payer money in the end as would getting out of the EU. People would know where they stood and there would be less silly court cases.

16 January 2013 at 17:40  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl.You can't unreasonably qualify your duties.

Oh yes you can. We are not talking disciplined or armed services here, you know ! If a muslim employee can successfully ask not to be involved in pork or alcohol as part of their duties, then a Christian can stick two fingers up rather than have his or her beliefs compromised. Thus a registrar is quite entitled to decline to PC off a couple of homosexuals, or to give them relationship advice, come to that…





16 January 2013 at 17:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I used to work for a private company which was bought out and taken over by a defence company that made, amongst other things, stuff euphemistically called "access denial equipment". There were some people who had a crisis of conscience at the time as I recall. I suppose nowadays they might be inclined to demand to work only on unrelated activities whereas before they simply resigned and found another job where their consciences were not troubled so much.

16 January 2013 at 18:34  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

16 January 2013 at 18:37  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

16 January 2013 at 18:40  
Blogger ukFred said...

What is clear from this judgement is that one can wear inoffensive symbols of the faith one purports to believe, but one cannot draw boundaries of conduct around one's employment, based on putting in to practice what one has put one's faith in.

16 January 2013 at 18:48  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

John Magee

Yes but then I make my points more reasonably than you do ;o) I also think its probably time to stop the "You're grandfather was uglier than mine" squabble.

Despite all its human mistakes, I also hold the firm conviction that the Catholic Church has no error in dogma or doctrine - this has been and will ever be, subject to Divine protection.

16 January 2013 at 21:36  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

16 January 2013 at 22:02  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Are you serious? The 'Golden Rule' on its own omits God and Jesus Christ.

16 January 2013 at 23:50  
Blogger John Magee said...

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17 January 2013 at 01:55  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

John Magee

From a Catholic perspective, there are three glaring errors in what you write.

Firstly, can you spot the difference in what Hillel wrote and what Jesus said?

"Do to others as you would have them do to you."

Secondly. Jesus taught something broader and much deeper about the Torah:

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.
And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets."


And thirdly, the doctrines and dogma of the Church are held to be Divinely revealed, not "man made"!

17 January 2013 at 02:43  
Blogger John Magee said...

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17 January 2013 at 03:40  
Blogger John Magee said...

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17 January 2013 at 04:10  
Blogger Jon said...

The Nadia Eweida case seems to me to be fairly simple. She signed up to a uniform code which prohibited the symbol she then wore. If she had a problem, she should have raised it when she signed her employment contract.

Meanwhile, Marie at 15 January 2013 17:49 seems all too willing to see the work of the cunning homosexual behind every stone. Believe it or not, we don't control the ECHR, Marie.

Perhaps the issue here is that Christians think they're not getting the sops to their issues that they think Muslims and gay people enjoy and feel growing outrage as a result. In which case, your beef isn't with gay people or muslims, it should surely be with the government and your churches. If you're not very good at lobbying to get what you want - get better at lobbying. Don't blame those who are just better at it than you are for your weaknesses!

I'm not very good at tennis. I don't blame Andy Murray for my appalling serve!

17 January 2013 at 10:32  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

jon said *Chortles*

" She signed up to a uniform code which prohibited the symbol she then wore." As did the muslims and Sikh's but you appear to forget (??) the new dress code related to HYGIENE AND SAFETY and NOT religious symbols!! but don't let something like a fact get in the way of an argument, my boy. Ad Hominem?)
"Perhaps the issue here is that Christians think they're not getting the sops to their issues that they think Muslims and gay people enjoy and feel growing outrage as a result.(Excuses and exemptions are made on a dress code for H and S purposes for muslims and whose specific objections on sleeves etc is not mandatory in Islamic ruled country's (such as in Turkey etc, whose medics dress identical to non muslim medics here, prior to our dress code introduction for H * S purposes) they originated from yet, mysteriously, is now pushed to be viewed as compulsory and valid in their religion here in UK)

In which case, your beef isn't with gay people or muslims, it should surely be with the government and your churches.(But they signed up to it lad as well as others..Why the 'gay' lumped in??)) If you're not very good at lobbying to get what you want - get better at lobbying. (Does that include the use of Semtex filled backpacks and threatening to killing those that do not agree?) and Don't blame those who are just better at it than you are for your weaknesses (Hmm, civil disobedience and implied violence you say, to get our way..Not very Christian but the Islam is the religion of Peace?! * Humungous Chuckles* )

I'm not very good at tennis. I don't blame Andy Murray for my appalling serve!

You do not appear very competent at forming a balanced articulated argument either but don't blame it on too much time spent reading The Beano as a child but unlike other aficionado's of said comic, some of us were able to move on to stronger meat

Blowers.

17 January 2013 at 11:16  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

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17 January 2013 at 13:08  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

John Magee

"As always we essentially agree .... Don't make it all so complex."

Well, no, we don't agree!

You have a tendency to remove the meat from the words of Christ and reduce the Gospel - Old and New - to a humanist doctrine.

The message is simple, I agree. The method of delivery was not!

"Doctrines and dogma of the Church are man made in the sense they are pronounced and defined by the Pope and theologians."

Most were defined by the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church and others by Church Councils. Very few were actually defined by the Pope.

"Are they Divinely revealed? RC Catholic theologians would say yes. Eastern Orthodox Christians, who are also valid Catholics, would say no."

If you know the history of the Eastern and Western Churches you'll the reasons for this. You'll also know what they share in common doctrinally far exceeds their differences.

"Lastly. Other than the miracles, the stories in Gospels are everyday ones about ordinary people with the most extraordinary man who has ever lived, Jesus Christ the Son of God, as the main character."

Like the Virgin birth, you mean? Jesus raising the dead?
The Last Supper when Jesus turned bread and wine into His Body and Blood? Or Christ's death on the Cross, His Resurrection and Ascension?

"It's simplicity makes it real and beautiful. Don't make it all so complex."

The New Testament is simple and beautiful, I agree. The Sermon on the Mount is the greatest exposition of how to live with others. It is also so much more than a human message about loving our neighbour as ourselves - as radical a message as that is.

17 January 2013 at 13:11  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

Sorry I didn't reply yesterday. I did a perfect face-plant off my front porch, and ended up in a doctor's office wondering what damage I had done to my ribs. Neither did my family take me seriously when I told them it was yet one more assassination attempt by the wretched house cat. So I didn't feel much like posting.

The Anglican bishop who hires a youth leader is hiring someone whose job is to teach and represent a particular worldview. What he believes is integral to what he does. So again I do not believe the example tracks. I had a similar reaction to the example of police in Nazi Germany. (Ironically enough, I briefly considering using that exact example in my previous post.) States typically require some measure of political loyalty of those whom it makes officers of the state. When I joined the US Military, I was required to affirm that I had never been a member of the Communist party. You prejudiced the case by making a reference to Nazi Germany. Every state makes similar types of demands at some level, and rightfully so. I see today there is a post about clergy in the CoE not being allowed to be members of the BNP. So it's not just governments.

I am not sure what a Christian police officer in Nazi Germany would have done however. Could he have legitimately asked for an exemption from enforcing Nazi law? That doesn't seem a viable option.

Running off to work. Didn't have much time to formulate this any better this morning.

carl

17 January 2013 at 14:25  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Carl said ...

"I am not sure what a Christian police officer in Nazi Germany would have done however.Could he have legitimately asked for an exemption from enforcing Nazi law?"

A Christian in Nazi Germany, if he had discerned what was coming, would surely have done everything in his power to resist the regime getting power. Isn't that the point?

As things currently stand, Christians do have some rights under law to heed their consciences and have the State and their employers respect these rights. Citizens in Nazi Germany had no such rights.

Are we simply to surrender these rights?

In my profession I am clear with my employers that I will not participate in decisions involving homosexual relationships, or adoption or fostering decisions involving homosexuals - other than to say I am opposed to these because of my faith. Neither will I contribute actively to facilitating abortions for the same reasons. Indeed, when involved in this, I do all I can to see other options are thoroughly explored.

Thus far, my employers respect my position and accommodate my conscience. Am I grateful? No. The law requires this so long as they can deliver an equitable public service. If they claimed they were unable to deliver this because of my faith I would have decisions to make. Similarly, if my colleagues claimed they felt 'victimised' and over worked because of my stance, my employers would have decisions to make.

Having this process protected by law that seeks to balance competing rights is something worth protecting.

17 January 2013 at 15:01  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

I'm sorry to hear about your ribs. Don't blame the cat - it's those evil Catholics who are to blame (somehow). Seriously, I hope you feel better.

I am not sure what a Christian police officer in Nazi Germany would have done however. Could he have legitimately asked for an exemption from enforcing Nazi law? That doesn't seem a viable option.

Dodo has given a nice response to that: in a civilised society, we try to avoid forcing people to choose between their consciences and their jobs. If it's possible to avoid this without infringing anyone else's rights, then, in other situations, the law expects conscience to be accommodated. So why not here?

You ask is it 'legitimate'? Of course, it's legitimate. Nazi policies are unjust, therefore, everyone has the duty (and not just the right) to refuse to do them. There was at least one SS guard who, on learning that the Jews were being gassed, refused to take part. This was allowed apparently! So the Nazis permitted conscientious objection but the ECHR does not! But if, in other situations, the Nazis would not allow people to object conscientiously, is not at all the same as saying the objectors had no legitimate cause. The issue here is justice, not what those in power unjustly impose.

The Anglican bishop who hires a youth leader is hiring someone whose job is to teach and represent a particular worldview. What he believes is integral to what he does.

But the point is that Anglican bishop was overruled. So even though the youth worker was incapable of doing the job, because of his lifestyle, the court found in his favour. Now in this case, there is no issue of conscience, and no one being forced to do what they do not believe they should do.

Why the inconsistency?

17 January 2013 at 16:12  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Albert - no blame the cat; every time, blame the cat!

17 January 2013 at 16:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Damn cats...

17 January 2013 at 17:54  
Blogger John Magee said...

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17 January 2013 at 18:05  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

A Christian in Nazi Germany, if he had discerned what was coming, would surely have done everything in his power to resist the regime getting power. Isn't that the point?

No, that isn't the point. First of all, the EU isn't Nazi Germany. Second, we aren't discussing what happens before the rules are in place. We are talking about what hapopens after the rules are in place.

Albert correctly phrased the question when he wrote:

The underlying issue is that of "reasonable accommodation".

Exactly so. What is "reasonable accommodation?" Your arguments come across to me as "What I prefer is reasonable. What I do not prefer is unreasonable." But that isn't a standard by which the question can be answered unless you are willing to say that all accommodations are reasonable. But you are already on record saying that some accommodations are unreasonable.

So what is your standard? How do you determine 'reasonable' from 'unreasonable?' You need to tell me why the two examples I have given (interracial marriage and a Muslim man who refuses to work for a woman) are unreasonable according to that standard. Likewise, you need to tell me why the tasks you would refuse to perform would be covered under 'reasonable accommodation.'

The fact that your conscience might be offended is not relevant. An offended conscience is present in both cases. You need to explain why one offended conscience deserves accommodation while another does not.

carl

17 January 2013 at 18:15  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

You ask is it 'legitimate'? Of course, it's legitimate. Nazi policies are unjust, therefore, everyone has the duty (and not just the right) to refuse to do them.

The duty of a policeman is to enforce the law. You can't have policemen deciding which laws to enforce. So a Christian in Nazi Germany would have few options. He could 1) quit. He could 2) stay, refuse to enforce the laws he considered unjust, and accept the consequences. What he couldn't do is go to his superiors and say "I refuse to enforce those laws on matter of conscience, and so I demand an exemption." It's a logical contradiction of the office he holds. Policemen don't get exemptions. More important however is the fundamental banckruptcy of such a position. It is positively craven. It amounts to "I won't arrest that Jewish baker, but I will give the message to someone who will."

But the Nazis didn't leave that option. They got rid of police officers who weren't loyal party members. That's why so many joined the party. So the Nazis didn't allow freedom of conscience after all.

carl

17 January 2013 at 18:30  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

But the point is that Anglican bishop was overruled.

And wrongly so, for the reasons I gave. I am only arguing about the case of the clerk who refused to issue licenses, and more broadly for the right of employers to set reasonable tasks on their employees as a condition of employment. She could ask for accommodation, but what right does she have to demand it? Offended conscience is not sufficient.

carl

17 January 2013 at 18:35  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Carl

What I'm saying is we are entitled and obliged to exercise our consciences. Whilst the law protects and upholds this principle for religion, Christians should be willing to defend their faith in court.

As to what is "reasonable" and "unreasonable", this isn't for me to say. As a manager delivering a pubic service, all I am entitled to say is whether the belief is a recognised article of someone's declared faith and if accommodating it prevents me from delivering an equitable service.

17 January 2013 at 19:57  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

John Magee

Now who's complicating matters?!

We were discussing whether more than a humanist acceptance of the so called 'Golden Rule' was necessary for Christians. Suddenly, you're taking us down a different alleyway.

Being a Roman Catholic means internally consenting to the Church's doctrines and complying with its Canon Laws. If you don't, you are at liberty to follow another faith.



17 January 2013 at 20:05  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

I think the first measure of all this is that it should be consistent. If a gay youthworker can sue a bishop for not employing him, even though he was not capable of doing the job, then a Christian registrar can sue for her job given that she is capable of doing most of the job (all of the job assuming she took the job before the rules of the game were changed).

The issue of reasonable accommodation is whether it is possible to continue without undermining any one else's rights. If she did not do the Civil Partnerships, it was still possible for gay couples to have them, they just wouldn't get them from her (nor would they want them from her!). This is different from the man who refuses to work for a woman - he simply cannot do that job.

As far as the Nazis being concerned, I was being slightly ironic when I said they allowed a conscientious objection to the gassing of prisoners. The point being: even the Nazis allowed some objections for conscience! As for the police, yes, the whole situation is corrupt. Perhaps the police example is the wrong one. There might have been a clerk somewhere who would refuse to (say) organise trains carrying prisoners. Craven yes, but still (if the Nazis were consistent) arguably an exception they could have recognized. And that's the irony.

We do expect to have our consciences protected, and the law does protect them: doctors cannot be required to perform abortions, for example (I assume that's the same in the US, but perhaps it isn't). But there is one case where conscience isn't protected, for some reason.

17 January 2013 at 20:29  
Blogger John Magee said...

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18 January 2013 at 03:28  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

What I'm saying is we are entitled and obliged to exercise our consciences.

No one is suggesting otherwise.

Whilst the law protects and upholds this principle for religion, Christians should be willing to defend their faith in court.

Right, and what I am asking you to do is explain the case you would make in that court of law. You can't just say "I should win because my religious beliefs trump all." They don't. I have given two very clear examples where they don't.

As to what is "reasonable" and "unreasonable", this isn't for me to say.

Really? Then why are we arguing about this? Why don't you just defer to the court's decision? If you really believed this, you would say the woman should issue the licenses. I think rather that you don't know how to differentiate between my example of mixed-race marriage and your example of gay civil partnerships. The state says both are legal. The state issues licences for both. The state employs people to issue those licenses. Yet you would affirm accommodation in the former case but not the later. Why?

carl

18 January 2013 at 04:51  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

I think the first measure of all this is that it should be consistent.

Consistency is exactly what I am looking for. I want a principle that can separate my examples from your examples. I haven't seen one yet that differentiates mixed race marriage from gay civil partnerships. I have only seen Dodo weakly assert that he doesn't know of any religions that object to interracial marriage. Note this isn't about the objective nature of gay relationships. I am not saying they are natural or objectively viable. We are talking about their legal status. We are talking about the responsibility of employees to fulfill the task given them by rightful authority.

The issue of reasonable accommodation is whether it is possible to continue without undermining any one else's rights.

OK, then start with my example. Explain to me how refusing to accommodate an objection to mixed-race marriage undermines someone else's rights. This is the essence of your case - that forcing someone to issue a license for a gay civil partnership undermines his rights. Why then would this logic not apply to a religious objection to mixed-race marriage?

And even just considering the case in question. A man doesn't have a right to employment. He don't have a right to tell his employer what he will and will not do. I don't see how it undermines a man's rights for an employer to compel an employee to perform a legal task within his job description when he can protect his rights by quitting. Unless you are saying he does have a right to employment on his own religious terms.

carl

18 January 2013 at 05:11  
Blogger Jon said...

Blofeld, sorry I struggle to understand you most of the time. If it's any help, I didn't read the Beano much as a child - I didn't think it was very funny. What are you reading these days? Something with very big print, I'm hazarding.... Peter and Jane, maybe? ;-)

To respond to the points you make whose hieroglyphics I can actually unpick.

1. Transgression of the BA uniform code.

Actually, I understand that the BA uniform code makes specific allowance for sikhs, muslims and hindus. Crosses weren't in there apparently, so I think my point stands that she should have raised this at the time instead of signing her contract if it was such a pivotal issue for her.

Your point about the way that muslims dress in the UK being different from Turkey actually agrees with what I'm saying. Someone took the trouble to codify these forms of dress in the BA uniform code because it was presumably raised at the time they wrote it. Presumably because Christians didn't ask to be allowed to wear jewellery, no one included it. You don't ask, you don't get. Get better at asking, rather than assuming that everyone should have automatically include your religious dogma in their policies. BA isn't anti- Christian (as much as your fevered imagination sees persecution everywhere) - if someone had mentioned it at the time, I imagine they'd have included it in their uniform code.

2. the use of Semtex filled backpacks

I don't think many gay people have used semtex filled backpacks. Semtex filled Gucci man bags, maybe, but not backpacks. Have you even taken the trouble to look at the spring line before making your point?!

Similarly, I don't think you can argue that sikh religious garments have been incorporated into private company dress codes because sikhs threatened to blow things up - so your generalisation is both trite and (i venture) potentially rather racist. Presumably you are continuing the trope that muslims get everything their own way because they threaten more violence, but this both misrepresents the majority of the UK muslim population, and the success that those who advocate violence have had in moving the terms of debate.

Tell me - how many US or UK troops have left the Middle East because of the nutjobs at Wootton Bassett?

No, I think it's you who is struggling to form an argument, being as how your point relies upon a misunderstanding of my point, a rather trite assumption about religious minorities threatening violence to get their way, and an allegation of my childhood comic reading.

2/10 - please re-read your logic text book.

P.s. before you invoke Cranmer's law in my suggestion of possible racism, you should read the wording fully - it states that an argument should be decent, intelligent and thoughtful. Maybe if Ms Eweida had read her contract wording more thoroughly, we could have avoided this ridiculous circus in the first place?

18 January 2013 at 10:51  
Blogger Jon said...

Carl - you've hit the nail on the head!

18 January 2013 at 10:53  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

So, if I understand you, you think that a hospital can compel a doctor to perform an abortion against his will?

I want a principle that can separate my examples from your examples

I think the point you're making is very sound. Of course, I would answer something like this: it is unjust to give gay couples the same rights as married couples, because gay couples inherently cannot fulfil the same duties and roles in society, nor do they serve the same function. Therefore, far from this being about equality, it is about unjustly privileging one portion of society above others, and compelling people to treat them as if they fulfil a role they do not fulfil. This plainly unjust and should be resisted, not least because it may well be harmful to the common good.

This reasoning does not of course apply against a mix-race couple.

Here then is the problem:you will reply that that's just my view. And isn't that the point: in a Godless society - or at least without a clear metaphysical highest good, it simply isn't possible to have coherent public policy. In such a society, either we compel people against their will (doctors to perform abortions) in which case, society descends into a kind of violence, or we allow conscientious objections that we might find abhorrent. The mixed-race marriage thing is a good example, but for many people doctors opting out of doing an abortion would be a sufficient example.

The underlying answer therefore is, in answering this question, I wouldn't start from here! Society is in moral free-fall, it doesn't know its left hand from its right hand and yet it goes around imposing opinions as facts on the basis of claimed human rights, when on this metaphysic, human rights are about as reasonable as believing in fairies.

Fundamentally, I think the law is the wrong place to be deciding these thing. Descent human beings would be able to accommodate each other. But the kind of decency by which Christians in the West have accommodated other positions, is not now being reciprocated.

18 January 2013 at 12:54  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

you think that a hospital can compel a doctor to perform an abortion against his will?

No, I think in principle it could order him to perform an abortion and fire him for non-compliance. In practice this isn't smart policy because so many people would simply refuse. However, I can see a clear differentiation between performing an abortion and issuing a license.

I am in substantial agreement with the rest of your post. But you have shifted the ground away from the question I am asking. You are essentially arguing that the right to accommodation rests upon the assertion that the law is objectively wrong. I agree the law is wrong. I agree there should be no such thing as legitimized homosexual relationships. But that isn't an argument to receive an exemption from the law itself. You can't go into court and say "This law should never have been made. It should not exist. Therefore I should be exempt from its dictates." You can however refuse to obey the law. Like Shadrach. He didn't ask for an exemption. He just refused.

carl

18 January 2013 at 13:24  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

I think actually we are agreed in many ways. Despite my comments, I'm not at all sure that the law is being interpreted in a wrong way, it's just that, as the outcome is so clearly wrong, that contributes to the idea that the law itself is wrong.

In practice this isn't smart policy because so many people would simply refuse.

Quite, so in the end, the secular 'liberal' permits conscientious objection, not because he believes he should respect conscience, but because he realizes he cannot impose his will without losing something he wants to have. Therefore, the liberal refuses conscientious objection when the minority is so small that they can trample them (in the name of defending minorities, of course).

In the most literal sense, I think much of this is ultimately Satanic.

18 January 2013 at 14:08  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Carl and Albert

So what does a Christian do in 21st century Britain?

Do we retreat and meekly accept we live in dark times and the Gospel is defeated in the civil sphere? Or do we use all the legal means at our disposal to put up a fight, even accepting we might eventually lose?

If one reflects on the Passion, Christ didn't question the machinations of the Sanhedrin in unjustly condemning Him by failing to follow their own processes. Is this what we are to do?

My own view is that we should take full advantage of all opportunities available to us and keep this in the spotlight for as long as we can. If we have a faith based opinion that is taught by our Church and can be advanced as an issue of conscience, then we have a responsibility to so. If our employers can accommodate our convictions they are legally obliged to do so and if they cannot they must advance good reasons for not doing so.

18 January 2013 at 15:09  
Blogger Albert said...

I think you may be right, Dodo. The secular liberal position is so riddled with contradiction that some people, at least, will begin to see its problems. Most people thought it was wrong the Christian B&B owners should have been sued and the gay couple ended up looking bad. It's the cumulative effect of these things that matters. And even if we fail, we are speaking up for truth and justice. As Archbishop Mamberti, the Holy See's Secretary for Relations with States

There is a real risk that moral relativism, which imposes itself as a new social norm, will come to undermine the foundations of individual freedom of conscience and religion. The Church seeks to defend individual freedoms of conscience and religion in all circumstances, even in the face of the “dictatorship of relativism”.

18 January 2013 at 15:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "However, I can see a clear differentiation between performing an abortion and issuing a license."

Me too.

Good employers make space for conscientious objection where they think it's appropriate but if employees have the power to simply walk away then they have all they need to protect their consciences. Good employers in a diverse and tolerant society like ours here in the UK also make space for religious symbols and practices where appropriate.

Giving employees the general right against their employer to dictate their terms of employment over religious or cultural things opens up a right old can of worms. If there are exemptions to be made, such as Sikh turbans and health and safety law then that ought to be a matter for the State, I think, taking into account structural issues.

18 January 2013 at 17:40  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

it's just that, as the outcome is so clearly wrong, that contributes to the idea that the law itself is wrong.

Exactly! This is the formulation I have been struggling to put into words. People see the outcome as wrong. They conclude the law is wrong. Because they conclude the law is wrong, they cannot find any compulsion to follow it. In fact, they think it should be resisted. But they wish to do so without the possibility of personal consequence. Hence the demand for exemptions. "Let me act as if that law does not exist." If the law is truly wrong, they we shouldn't make accommodations with it just to make our lives easier. We should resist it at every turn.

carl

18 January 2013 at 18:55  
Blogger John Magee said...

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18 January 2013 at 19:08  
Blogger John Magee said...

Carl Jacobs

There isn't a single example today of any Western nation which has political correctness anywhere in their legal codes as part of the law of the land yet political correctness now guides our governments and many of our leaders, the liberal media, and the pop culture. Even some of our churches.

Defy political correctness speech, thought, or personal conduct regulations and you are called a "fascist" or a "Nazi".

Why is this and how have we come to this point in time giving up our freedoms to a concept that is not part of our laws which the USSR dreamed up over 65 years ago in the name of "reeducation" of conquered peoples?

18 January 2013 at 19:21  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

If the law is truly wrong, they we shouldn't make accommodations with it just to make our lives easier. We should resist it at every turn.

I'm just wondering what that looks like though. Take the example of a doctor being expected to perform an abortion. He can resist the law only through democratic means - protests etc. He cannot collude with the law however, he can only do the good job he does if he has an exception.

I wonder if this transfers over to the registrar. I've come to the conclusion that part of point of fighting something, is not so much to win the particular battle, but to head off the next battle, to show that it is costly to the adversary to them to impose their injustices.

In the case of the registrar, therefore, losing, though not as good as winning, is a kind of witness. It exposes the contradictions and hypocrisy at the heart of secular "liberalism." In many of our Catholic schools we will have non-Christian staff whose beliefs are accommodated within the school. They are not expected to do the things that Catholic staff are. They must now see that their fellow secularists have undermined their right in law to opt out of things. They will still have their exemptions. They will see that one of these positions is honourable and humane.

In short, injustice has been exposed. That has got to be a good thing.

18 January 2013 at 19:28  
Blogger John Allman said...

Ladele should never have been argued as an Article 9 Freedom of Religion claim. It should have been an Article 9 Freedom of Conscience claim, to which the proportionality test of Article 9(2) does not apply.

In McFarlane, the claimant was fired after admitting to his employer that he wasn’t able to predict, if and when the time came, that he would feel confident about his ability to deliver psycho-sexual counselling to a same-sex couple. He preferred to cross that bridge when he came to it, so-to-speak. That is, if the situation, which was then still merely hypothetical, ever arose in practice. Let us call that Mr McFarlane’s “first admission”.

Mr McFarlane admitted further facts to his employer, his “second admission”. He mentioned some of his REASONS for the facts admitted in the first admission. He admitted that his *religion* played a part in causing the facts admitted in the first admission.

Looking at the comments of the general public on other blogs, there seem to be a section of the general public who are utterly delighted that Mr McFarlane lost his claim on Tuesday. They are delighted mainly or only because Mr McFarlane is a Christian. They regard the facts admitted in the second admission as gross misconduct.

Armed only with the first admission, it appears that many of the most jubilant, would not have fired Mr McFarlane themselves. It was the second admission that damned him, in their eyes. I began to wonder to what extent the attitudes towards the two admissions of the jubilant, resembles the attitudes of the managers who fired Mr McFarlance, and of the implications, if that had been admitted. It’s time for a thought experiment.

Suppose Mr McFarlane had simply made the first admission, and then said nothing at all about the reasons for the first admission facts. Would Relate have fired him then? I suspect not.

Or suppose that he had given the following reason for the first admission facts: that he didn’t feel that it would be *fair* to a same-sex couple seeking to improve their sexual experiences together, to assign them a non-homosexual counsellor who had the difficulties that he had, in empathising with people who wanted to do the sorts of things together that a couple was likely to want him to help them to do. Suppose he’d said that it would make him feel like a computer engineer asked to repair a car, or a gynaecologist asked to perform a vasectomy, but said nothing at all about religion. Would Relate have fired him then? I suspect not.

What if my suspicions are correct, as to the relative importance of the first and the second admissions in the mind of Relate, in informing their inference that Mr McFarlane had misconducted himself grossly in having the misgivings he did? Therein lies the religious discrimination against him.

If Relate’s attitudes mirror those of the jubilant section of the public, Mr McFarlane’s merely having the misgivings he had, citing wholly “innocent” reasons nothing to do with his much-hated religion, would likely have saved him his job. Or just having the misgivings for deeply personal reasons to do with his own past that he was uncomfortable disclosing, would just as likely have saved him his job. Being so darned Christian about it was what cost him his job, I’m pretty sure. QED

18 January 2013 at 22:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I remember when some Muslims workers asked for exemption from Sainsbury's to refuse to pass alcohol through barcode readers at their checkouts or restock shelves on the alcohol shelves. Link here (apologies that it's the Daily mail):

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-484928/Muslim-checkout-staff-refuse-sell-drink.html

Now, I've bought alcohol in a supermarket a number of times when the checkout operator has been a Muslim (or at least been wearing a hijab anyway) and it's been no problem. However, if it becomes a general right then I can see that exercising the right will become much more common.

If some Muslism expect to be excused part of their duties regarding alcohol at point of sales then presumably pork products will be next. What then? Vegetarians refusing to pass meat and rennet-containing cheese over the scanners? Roman Catholics in Boots refusing to accept contraceptives at their checkouts or stock those shelves?

As a shopper, I'm happy to see "10 items or fewer" checkouts but I'd be less pleased to see "No contraceptives", or "No alcohol", or "No meat" versions because their staff are over-extending their religious or ethical beliefs. I also don't particularly want someone in uniform looking judgemental because they disapprove of my personal choices, citing their particular god or gods or personal beliefs, when I'm shopping. If that happens then I, and I suspect many others, won't be shopping there again so employers beware.

19 January 2013 at 08:56  
Blogger Albert said...

John,

What you say about people rejoicing simply because those who lost the cases are Christians, is very interesting. I worked at a Catholic school once. There were several teachers who were not Christians. This raised questions about them leading prayers etc. The principle enunciated by the Chaplain was that no one should be expected to do lead prayers or say something against their conscience. Therefore, arrangements were made for them so they did not need to lead prayers. These arrangements inconvenienced other staff but the policy was never even questioned. It was obvious in a Catholic school that non-Christian staff would not be expected to lead Christian prayers.

This is where the modern secularist is culpably half-witted: as I have said, I am not sure the judges got the law wrong. But in any humane society, it is right to try to accommodate conscience. Now that accommodation has been lost to Christians, it has, presumably, been lost to non Christians too. Is that something to rejoice in, just because many people are ignorant enough not to like Christians? Or is it that, their hatred of Christians notwithstanding, your average secularist knows he will be treated far better by a Christian employer than they, as non-Christians would treat a Christian?

The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of this position is painfully evident. Underneath it is not reason or justice, but a willingness to impose their will.

19 January 2013 at 11:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

There are exceptions in law in some professions for conscientious objection, such as in nursing:

http://www.nmc-uk.org/Nurses-and-midwives/Regulation-in-practice/Regulation-in-Practice-Topics/Conscientious-objection-by-nurses-and-midwives-/

but also limits:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-17203620

Obviously some people test the limits, which is not in itself a bad thing, but it seems to me that the law draws the line just beyond direct involvement in the moral act. That seems pretty reasonable to me.

This is also relevant in the Chymorvah B&B case, I think. It's not as though the hoteliers were directly involved in any way. They'd have had to have gone out of their way to be involved, intruding on privacy, if an act of which they disapproved had taken place.

19 January 2013 at 11:54  
Blogger Albert said...

There are exceptions in law in some professions for conscientious objection, such as in nursing:

And for contraceptists and pharmacists too, apparently:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3129625/Mother-is-denied-pill-by-Muslim-pharmacist.html

It is hard to give a general law about these things - I think we are all agreed there. It is the behaviour of individuals that seems to be falling short - it looks more vindictive than anything else, and certainly fails by the Golden Rule, but that of course, is a sign of moral decline.

19 January 2013 at 12:05  

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