Sat 25th Oct 2014 | Last updated: Fri 24th Oct 2014 at 18:39pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Comment & Blogs

With its crusade against crucifixes, our Government is doing a good job of destroying British culture

What a sad contrast with Italy

By on Monday, 12 March 2012

A schoolgirl in Twickenham waits for the Pope with a crucifix and Vatican flag (PA photo)

A schoolgirl in Twickenham waits for the Pope with a crucifix and Vatican flag (PA photo)

Crucifixes and crosses are back in the news. You may remember the case of British Airways worker Nadia Eweida and the similar case of the nurse Shirley Chaplin.

Well, it now seems that this question – that of the right to wear a crucifix or cross at work – has been fought all the way to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and that our own Government has taken sides and is arguing against the right of the two women to wear crucifixes. The Telegraph has the story. I am not quite sure how the legal system works, but it seems strange that the Government should be involved in this, particularly when it is trying to save money. Why should the government be anything other than neutral in this?

This matter reminds me of a similar case in Italy about 10 years ago. A certain Adel Smith demanded that the crucifix on the classroom wall of his son’s school should be removed. Mr Smith is half-Scottish and half-Egyptian, but has an Italian passport, and is a convert to Islam. He became notorious for his campaign of vilification against the Catholic Church, and the crucifix in particular. There was a time when he seemed to be on every television chatshow. However, his campaign backfired, largely because most Italians, even if not religious, do not like being told what to do by people like Mr Smith, and they deeply dislike legalism of any kind. Mr Smith has recently been sentenced to five years in jail on a charge of forgery. The Union of Italian Muslims, which he headed, is supposed to have had not the many thousands of adherents that he claimed, but a mere two signed up members.

One can read about Mr Smith and his campaign here (in Italian). Two famous Italians had this to say on the case, and I translate their words. One was Vittorio Feltri, a well-known journalist: “A guy comes into your house, settles into an armchair, helps himself from the fridge, uses your bathroom, and instead of thanking you for your hospitality, orders you to take that thing down from the wall. Whatever the thing is, it is up to me whether it stays on the wall or comes down.” The other was Umberto Eco, who said: “I invite Adel Smith, and other intolerant fundamentalists, to understand and accept the customs of the country of which they are guests.”

Pretty stern stuff from two leading cultural icons. As for the population as a whole, numerous Italians made a point of dusting down old crucifixes, setting up new ones, including, if memory serves, a huge three-metre-high one in the village of Ofena where Mr Smith lived, and proclaiming “Il crocefisso non si tocca!” (“Hands off the crucifix!”). Italians, you see, not only do not like being told what to do by lawyers, they also love their culture and want to preserve it, and the display of the crucifix is part of that culture.

Which brings us to the sad contrast presented by our own Government and intellectuals. If you had sat down and worked out a plan how best to destroy British culture, you could not do a better job than the Coalition is currently doing, or indeed the previous government did before them.

But maybe Mr Cameron and his friends should study the case of Adel Smith. And bear in mind the famous dictum of Chesterton:

Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget;
For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet.

  • Honeybadger

    Good on you!

    As for daclamat… history is not their specialist subject.

  • Honeybadger

    I remember when David Cameron said to Pope Benedict XVI before he flew back to Rome from Birmingham that, quote:  ‘… you made us think.’

    Think about what? How to pull the rug from under Christians and, especially, Roman Catholics?

    It appears so.

  • Honeybadger

    Or… to really piddle off employers who take this insane stand… wear a Union Flag badge! Three saints, one flag.

    I’d love to see their reaction to the Georgian national flag…FIVE red crosses on a white background! One big red cross with four smaller red crosses in each quarter!

  • Honeybadger

    Pardon? What language are you speaking in, now?

    It appears to be POLLOCKS!

  • Honeybadger

    daclamat could not organise a urinating frenzy in a brewery, never mind thoughts!

  • Honeybadger

    The Honeybadger, you moron, is in the Guinness World Records as one of the most resiliant, fearless creatures on earth.

    It’s favourite meal is… live cobras! Indeedy, whereas Honeybadgers sink their impressive, strong, white, teeth where your dentures fear to suck.

    Look up the Honeybadger on your favourite search engine (you know what one of those are, don’t you?) … and get an education!

  • Honeybadger

    Mice, or rats, can’t break wind.

    By the way, where did you learn your natural history? The meat counter at Kwik Save?

    It is a requirement for Sikhs to wear turbans. Look it up as to why it is.

    If any group is all about a saturation of publicity, it’s atheists… and it’s all them, them, them!

  • Honeybadger

    I did.

    Why should the freedom to wear a cross/crucifix need to be stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered by those Number 2s in Brussels?

    Don’t they know there’s a period of austerity on?

    If I decided to become a Jedi, you bet your shirt that the issue of bringing my laser sabre to work will become the next legal issue.

  • MRF Thorne

    Hello John Byrne,
    Thank you for reading my post, and for your reply to it. I’m no expert in medieval Church history or politics, but obviously Catholics in the UK had their difficulties amplified in the late 16th/early 17th century with the aftermath of the reign of Queen Mary I and more specifically, the Papal Bull of Pope Pius V in 1570 to excommunicate Queen Elizabeth I. That was indeed a most unfortunate period of history, and the ecumenical efforts in encouraging dialogue and cooperation between different denominations of the Church since the Second Vatican Council are commendable. Returning to the 21st Century: neither am I a traditional Catholic in the sense that this is commonly understood (i.e. a Tridentine Mass enthusiast); I’m an adult convert to Christianity and the Faith who loves the writings of both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, but I am fiercely loyal to the teachings of the Magisterium. However, I find I have become a Catholic in a period of burgeoning drama and crisis. My really deep concern is that I honestly can’t see how the Catholic Church can continue to operate effectively in the public sphere once the government starts to try to dictate how the Church exercises its spirituality, and either by stealth or in the name of ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’, tries to impose legal restrictions on the celebration of the sacraments, the defining “pillars” of the Church. The Government considers that different models of marriage can peacefully co-exist. I would like to share in that view, but I’m afraid I can’t; I can only see a disparity where the traditional model of marriage is ultimately going to be trampled underfoot. For example, the Conservative MP in Hove has written a letter where he advocates that religious organisations that fail to marry same-sex couples ought to have their licences stripped away from them. There are moves afoot to try to suppress “husband” and “wife” as being discriminatory and old-fashioned, and so on. Once the church has to compromise its teachings and its practices to conform to the law, it loses its integrity and its public face. Yes, I appreciate that this country, as of 14 March 2012 and as far as Catholics are concerned, is (with certain caveats) a “free society”, but I fear those freedoms we enjoy are soon going to be stripped away from us.If someone knows how the Church could continue to save its public face if it is legally required to forsake some of the teachings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I would be all ears. In making a claim of militancy, I give my assurance I wasn’t advocating violence in any shape or form. I simply meant that, if it becomes an impossibility for the Church to operate in accordance with the law, it is going to have to somehow secure its future outside of it. In mentioning the Church “militant”, I was primarily thinking of our having to reckon with “the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).With best regards, Mark 

  • Honeybadger

    Yes, indeed, Jesus was insulted, mocked and they were sticks, stones, sharp edged whips etc. etc.

    Nice to know you have one braincell that you haven’t managed to part with on eBay.

    By the way, your nom-de-crayon sounds like a cheap drain cleaner.

  • http://twitter.com/teaorcoffeeorme Lisa Ashton

    Well why are you surprised. The Airline BMI demanded that I removed an outward sign of my own religion i.e. crucifix, and replace it with wearing an islamic abaya, then being told to walk behind the men. The Tribunal judge said that was legal. Due to precedent in my case this is  acceptable. I am attempting to change the law. Please write to the Commission for the British Bill of Rights. Please repost. We need to do this NOW!!

  • http://twitter.com/teaorcoffeeorme Lisa Ashton

    You don’t work for the airline BMI then?

  • Honeybadger

    Nope.

  • Honeybadger

    You don’t say!

  • Honeybadger

    Heck! What does this tinpot toytown airline think it is?

    I didn’t know that Iran owns BMI! News to me.

    They picked on a soft target in you, friend. All Christians/Catholics are soft targets, now. 

    This world won’t be content until all Christians end up joining the dole queues of the world… then their economies - and humanity in general - will go into a deeper crisis mode of the likes they have never seen before and hope to God they will not see again! 

    Then they’ll blame US for their woes! These idiots never, ever take the blame themselves.

    BMI gave one of my devout Roman Catholic friends a dog’s life until he packed up and went back to Canada to live.

    Whoever made this ludicrous decision at your Tribunal must be either a militant atheist or … or something else!

    How about Christians boycotting BMI? When their profit margins go down the toilet and they have empty seats…

    I hope Ryanair don’t start this carry on… and charge a few quid for us to wear our crucifixes on board! (just kidding!)

    Years ago, ignorant people used to say to the Irish ‘go back to your own country, bogtrotter!’

    ‘Yeah’, we would reply: ‘We’ll take the NHS, the London Underground, the motorways, the infrastructure etc. etc. and you be left well and truly STUFFED without us!’

    You are better than BMI, Lisa Ashton. You are in my prayers.

  • http://jamiemacnab.wordpress.com/ Jamie MacNab

    The Union Flag, along with all national flags in Europe, will almost certainly be abolished in the not-too-distant future.  If the EU survives, that is.

  • http://twitter.com/Harry_ca_Nab The Elderking

    Thank you Lisa, I had not heard of your fight. I have sent it to as many people as I know plus Twitter

  • http://twitter.com/Harry_ca_Nab The Elderking

    Surely anyone who says our cross is offensive is a bigot. If I said that Muslim attire, the Crescent or the Koran were offensive I would be charged with a hate crime.
    Those saying the cross is offensive should be the ones taken to task.

  • Mari

    I went to a City Hall in Florida to get a passport card and realized i forgot my photos so i asked the clerk to take them; she did but requested to place my crucifix in my back or take it down no religious items; is this legal; i felt really bad

  • http://twitter.com/teaorcoffeeorme Lisa Ashton

    Thank you for your support on this….Unfortunately  for BMI “They picked on a soft target in you”, as you say, is not the case. Anything but, indeed I think in the coming few months the case will be coming back to haunt them, and not just them. The case is a total “can of worm” and those very very high up within government know about it. As yet they have done NOTHING about it, the BBC refuse to run the story. You should be reading about it in the near future.

    If you wish to help please spread the word, more can be found about the case at http://www.lisaashton.com ……..soft target? I doubt if my husband and I will been seen as such over the coming months.

  • 676aldhelmstown710

    Bath City Council which operates Haycombe Crematorium is carrying out a programme of improvements which include replaceing several large plate glass windows offering stunning views down a near valley with plain glass, YOU GUESSED IT – THE OLD WINDOWS WERE ETCHED WITH CROSSES – WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU EXPECT IN A CHRISTION COUNTRY. In nearby Bath Abbey the present form of the coronation was devised in the time of King Edger, a Christian service where the sovereign is annointed.

  • Julie

    Let’s not forget that of all systems it was only Christianity that gave us our birth rights. If you haven’t noticed all governments do is try to take them away from us.