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European court rules on religious freedom cases

By on Tuesday, 15 January 2013

British Airways employee Nadia Eweida celebrates winning her case in London (Photo: PA)

British Airways employee Nadia Eweida celebrates winning her case in London (Photo: PA)

The European Court of Human Rights has today given its judgment in the cases of four Britons who alleged they suffered discrimination as a result of their Christian faith.

Only one of the four was successful in their claims.

Nadia Eweida, a worker for British Airways, and Shirley Chaplin, an NHS nurse, both complained when their employers ordered them to cover up crosses worn around their necks.

Ms Eweida was initially told by BA that crosses were prohibited as they undermined the professional presentation of staff – despite hijabs, turbans and skull caps being acceptable. BA subsequently changed their policy, and today she has won her case for discrimination.

Ms Chaplin, along with Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane, lost their appeals before a panel of seven judges.

Ms Ladele was a marriage registrar for Islington Borough Council who asked not to perform same-sex civil partnerships when these were introduced. She requested to do other work instead, but was told this was against the council’s equality and diversity policy. Mr McFarlane, a relationship counsellor for Relate, did not want to participate in sex therapy with homosexual couples. Both cited Christian teaching in defence of their objections.

All four are Christians who claim that their actions are aspects of their faith which are protected under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This defends the right to “manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance”, subject to proportionate limitations, “prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others”.

The three who lost their appeals are believed to be considering a final appeal to the Grand Chamber of the European Court, where their cases could be heard before seventeen judges.

John Duddington, editor of the Christian Law Review, said: “I expected this. The decision of the UK courts that a Christian could be prevented from wearing a cross at work was plainly wrong and thank goodness that the European Court of Human Rights has seen sense here. However, the courts have a very poor record of upholding the rights of Christians when other rights are involved, such as those of homosexuals, and so the other decisions, although very disappointing, come as no surprise.

“All is not lost. however. The UK Government is looking at the whole area of human rights and now is the time for Christians – and those of other faiths – to make a strong case for the reasonable accommodation of religious beliefs to be protected in law.”

  • JabbaPapa

    It is morally wrong to discriminate against same-sex couples who are not
    doing anyone else any harm and whose mutual attraction is no fault of
    their own, and it would be morally wrong to expect employers to support
    immorality

    You would be completely unable to demonstrate that this statement is true using any kind of objective methodology.

    This is because it is a doctrine of your own atheist belief system.

    It is, however, a trivial task to demonstrate that two plus two equals four — both theoretically, and in the real world.

    Apples, one notes, are not OTOH comparable to oranges.

    Therefore, your 2+2=5 “argument” is a complete strawman, not worth discussing.

    Blatantly false beliefs do not deserve any respect

    The doctrinal requirements of the major religions are not, typically, “blatantly false”, contrary to your indoctrinated prejudice.

  • JabbaPapa

    You are very confused, and the member is IMO correct in his opinion that your understanding of the various degrees of Magisterial Authority is flawed.

  • JabbaPapa

    The answer is in the post that you’re responding to : the Magisterium.

  • JabbaPapa

    This is just plain old rubbish.

    Are you confusing the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception with the doctrines concerning St Mary’s relationship with Original Sin ?

    The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception states that no stain of sin, Original or otherwise, affected St Mary’s conception by her parents.

    Theological statements concerning Mary’s own relationship with Original Sin concern a completely different topic.

    Statements by St Thomas on this last subject have NOTHING to say about the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and they most certainly do NOT deny it.

  • JabbaPapa

    The argument is childishly simple, therefore quite trivial to understand — it is also completely wrong.

  • JabbaPapa

    :-)

  • JabbaPapa

    The Church never did any such thing, given (among other things) that Galileo’s scientific work was directly financed by the Pope and the Roman Curia.

    The condemnation of Galileo was related to his acts of rebellion against the Pope and the Curia (because his book contained some nasty and petty-minded little insults against them), and had NOTHING to do with his science.

  • Gildaswiseman

    “ALL Teachings of ALL the Councils are BINDING and must be given assent of whatever level of obedience at the end of the day, that is tge true Catholic orthodoxy,do you understand that? Who told you that a catholic can choose which is binding or not?”

    Well basically, Pope John XXIII in his introduction of the Council and the teaching of the Church throughout the ages, is the answer to that ridiculous question and admonishment.However,try and understand this concept. It is understanding how the teaching is applied. Also it is about distinguishing the content of Council’s documents. What elements are binding and what are not? Other issues  also regard  the instruction given by the Council Father’s, as to what is infallible authentic teaching and what is pastoral or appears to be novel and open to theological question and research.It is a matter of licit research and of the sensus fidelium.You appear to throw a blanket over the whole Council and say “It is binding” and then criticize anyone who questions elements that appear to be problematic. 
    Now! something else I fundamentally disagree with you. that “Humanae Vitae” is not an infallible encyclical letter. Why? Because it teaches faith and morals upon the subject of contraception, that the Church has consistently taught since the first Council of Jerusalem.
    For a matter of interest, I have never thought like a protestant in my life. I keep within the recognized rules of theological inquiry and  the commandments of the Church. You presumptuous fellow!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    There is no credible medical evidence of your genetic mutation idea – you just made that up. And as for non-viable sexual stimuli – as is usual for people who take your line, you are obsessed with sex and speak nothing of love.

    But whatever the reason, it doesn’t in any way “interfere with the reproduction of the species” any more that some being celibate or being childless does – so that’s another red herring.

    However given you think being gay is caused by a genetic mutation – which at least is one step up from saying its a ‘lifestyle choice’ – then it is indeed natural for those people as it is something they have no control over. You are confusing biological norm with biological majority – meaning it isn’t dysfunctional.

    But to move the debate on, perhaps you could tell us how you think gay people should live their lives?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    Ah yes the Catholic church – the biggest single contributor to the spread of HIV in sub Saharan Africa in their objection to the use of condoms and the biggest

    perpetrators of paedophilia in the world

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    They hate to be called bigots and homophobes, but that is what they are: the very arbitrary nature of the opposition to marriage states as its premise, that no gay relationship, no matter how loving, supportive, stable, faithful or committed can match the standard of a heterosexual relationship, however abusive, adulterous, deceitful, dysfunctional or short-lived. And behind all this is the notion that gay people should live a loveless life of chastity. Why on earth, in 2013, are we wasting our time worrying about whether people with such poisonous views as this are offended or not? They deserve to be, for their cruelty and stupidity.
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/01/18/comment-offended-by-marriage-equality-the-admission-of-a-lost-argument/

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    Yes thank god for the European court – in agreeing that there was no discrimination in three of the cases and finding in favour of the one that, at best, can be described as a hollow victory.
    The ECHR has confirmed religion doesn’t have any ‘special’ rights.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    Yes bigotry – religious bigotry - as evidenced by the fact that the courts always find in favour of the equal rights of gay people, not the demands for special rights from religious people.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    Yes bigotry – religious bigotry – as evidenced by the fact that the courts always find in favour of the equal rights of gay people, not the demands for special rights from religious people.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    Yes bigotry – religious bigotry – as evidenced by the fact that the courts always find in favour of the equal rights of gay people, not the demands for special rights from religious people.

  • TreenonPoet

    One of the points put across in the ECHR judgement was that a religious belief does not have to be a member of the formal set of beliefs of any major religion. (For example, Eweida’s belief that she should display the cross is not an essential tenet of Christianity – how could it be? – but that belief has the same status as any belief that does happen to belong to a major religion.) I agree. There seems to me to be as many religions as there are religious people.

    I agree that not all religious beliefs are blatantly false, but some are. I do not suppose that there are many flat-Earthers left, but there are certainly many young-Earthers (believing thet Earth is less than 10000 years old). The point that I was trying to make with the 2+2=5ism invention was that even though it is a trivial task to demonstrate that two plus two equals does not equal 5 (both theoretically, and in the real world), it is still possible to claim otherwise using theological arguments. How much easier it must be for theologians and others to argue against a mere overwhelming mass of scientific evidence.

    For example, one could dismiss any assertion as “a doctrine of your own atheist belief system”. In other words, a deity is invented and it is declared that this deity is perfect and knows the assertion to be wrong, whatever real-world evidence is offered to the contrary. (And how is it known what this deity knows? Any position can be supported by selective use of the Bible/Qur’an/etc. There are plenty of examples of God discriminating against innocent people in the Bible, so what’s wrong with discriminating against innocent homosexuals?) This is no basis for lawmaking.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    Why have you assumed I’m atheist? Plenty of Christians and Christian faiths are in favour of equal marriage!

  • JabbaPapa

    There is no credible medical evidence of your genetic mutation idea – you just made that up.

    http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=495588#qundefined

    http://healthland.time.com/2012/12/13/new-insight-into-the-epigenetic-roots-of-homosexuality/

    However given you think being gay is caused by a genetic mutation –
    which at least is one step up from saying its a ‘lifestyle choice’

    But I see that you are not averse to directly contradicting yourself.

    how you think gay people should live their lives?

    None of my business, except insofar as I believe that they should be Catholics ; but that’s not the issue is it — the issue is that homosexualists are trying to force their own political ideologies into Law, and to therefore criminalise anything contrary to those ideologies.

  • JabbaPapa

    Complete and utter rubbish.

    What gives you the right to throw around this “homophobes” slur and slander ?

    … and behind all this is the notion that gay people should live a loveless life of chastity

    No it jolly well is NOT “behind all this” — you’re just disseminating propaganda.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    Tim, your knowledge of employment law is appalling and you are quite simply WRONG.”Under best practice, if new business practices are brought in and an employee is unable (even allowing for training) or unwilling to carry these out they would be put on notice of potential redundancy” – NO THEY WOULD NOT.
    It is not a redundancy situation at all. Under best practice they would be served contractual notice under their old contract and reengaged on a new one that incorporated the new ones. If they then refused to undertake the activities as defined in the job description, that becomes a disciplinary matter which is exactly how it was dealt with. You CANNOT make people redundant when their is a job to do and they are required to do it.

  • JabbaPapa

    Infallible teachings are systematically identified by the wording that is contained in those teachings, where it may explicitly state that those teachings are “to be held by all Catholics” or other such definitive phrases or declarations.

    Encyclicals can contain a mix of teachings that are fallible or infallible, but the word “fallible” simply means that it is not directly sinful to contradict or to disagree with those teachings.

    The degree of Authority that most people misunderstand is where a teaching is known as being “authoritative”, which is the case of all non-infallible teachings that are nevertheless solemnly pronounced by the Magisterium.

    “Authoritative” teachings require the willing assent and obedience of Catholics, notwithstanding that it may not be sinful in every particular occasion to contradict them or to disagree with them if they are non-infallible — but this does not mean that Catholics are free to act as if those teachings had not been provided to them, nor as if they were free to disobey them.

    Finally, some questions are only open in the specific case of a theological investigation, whereas the Laity will typically be forbidden from questioning these questions independently.

  • JabbaPapa

    The point that I was trying to make with the 2+2=5ism invention was that
    even though it is a trivial task to demonstrate that two plus two
    equals does not equal 5 (both theoretically, and in the real world), it
    is still possible to claim otherwise using theological arguments.

    This is a ludicrous statement.

    As a sister discipline to Philosophy, Theology is necessarily grounded in understanding and acceptance of Science, and more generally speaking of the rules that govern Reality.

    That God is the Origin of Reality affects this grounding in that Reality not a jot.

    Why do you keep on spouting this ridiculous argument about Theology, despite people continually pointing out its total logical incoherence to you, as has occurred on multiple separate occasions ?

    How much easier it must be for theologians and others to argue against a mere overwhelming mass of scientific evidence.

    I doubt that you have any evidence that this is some sort of generally accepted practice of Theology.

    Given that it is 180° opposite proper methodology.

    Or what : conversely, should all atheists be characterised by the more irrational products of this or that atheist posting anti-Catholic diatribes and rantings here and there around the interwebs ? Are all atheists of the mouth-gaping sniggering bronze-age-sky-fairyist persuasion ?

    Eweida’s belief that she should display the cross is not an essential tenet of Christianity

    It is a thousands of years old tradition of Christianity.

    It is perfectly reasonable to understand it as an ordinary display of Christian religious devotion and identity, notwithstanding your personal dislike of her religious freedoms.

    discriminating against innocent homosexuals

    I have not seen a single example of any material “discriminations” suffered by homosexuals in the UK at the present time.

    In fact, they do not suffer any sort of discrimination whatsoever.

  • JabbaPapa

    But religiophobic bigotry is perfectly OK, I suppose.

  • JabbaPapa

    Probably because of your massive display of religiophobic bigotry.

  • Sweetjae

    Exactly my point, look at Gildas response above.

  • Sweetjae

    Nonsense, gibberish , baloney. The Original sin and the Immaculate Conception are intertwined. The absence of the former makes the latter possible. Yours is just a twaddle.

    You have been refuted as yet again.

    READ THIS AGAIN JABBA, it’s in plain English:

    “Likewise, if Mary had been conceived without original sin, she would not have had to be redeemed by Christ, and so Christ would not be the universal redeemer of men, which detracts from His dignity. Accordingly we must hold that she **was conceived with original sin,*** but was cleansed from it in some special way.” St. Thomas Aquinas.

  • Sweetjae

    No, your argument is completely wrong. A clear sign of being refuted as yet again. The argument is showing that men can succumbed to error BUT NOT the Councils or Magisterium, this the crux that you have no understanding. Period.

  • TreenonPoet

     I am glad to see, from another comment you made in this thread, that you are still heliocentrist (though I note that you still misrepresent the Galileo confrontation). You will therefore disagree with Robert A. Sungenis, producer of numerous publications on Catholic theology, who points out that the Bible is consistent with geocentrism. Of course, the Bible (Old and New Testament) gets cosmology completely wrong, though I guess the Church would argue that this completely wrong stuff can be interpreted as being perfectly correct (the Bible having allegedly been inspired by a perfect God). The Church and Sungenis are both using theological arguments that are the antithesis of science and logic.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    Ahaha – I said credible – even the second article admits its controversial. Try finding something from the UK. But in any case its not a ‘lifestyle choice’. Thus gay people do not ‘choose’ to be gay – which rather indicates they deserve equal treatment.

    And I note you don’t comment on your obsession with sex and exclusion of love!!!

    Not contradicted myself in the slightest.

    You believe they should be Catholics? What you think every Gay person should be Catholic?!!

    “the issue is that homosexualists are trying to force their own political ideologies into Law, and to therefore criminalise anything contrary to those ideologies” – Aha, no no my ignorant friend the issue is that in the main, it isn’t gay people championing this at all – its straight people!! Gay people aren’t trying to force anything, it isn’t political and it isn’t ideological.

    Gay people don’t need to force anything – that’s the great thing about it.

    All the main party leaders in favour in both Westminster and Holyrood, all the main parties in favour, most MP’s and MSP’s in favour, political heavyweights like Sir John Major in favour, Evangelical Christians in favour and in the latest poll from COMRES, 60% of the population in favour!!!

    So no – Gay people aren’t forcing anything – I suggest you take your problem up with the straights. Gay people just want EQUAL treatment, whereas religious bigots want SPECIAL treatment. Special treatment to discriminate – well I’m sorry, but it ain’t happening and the ECHR have reinforced that. YOU’VE LOST!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    Nope, I believe in religious freedom – you have the right to practice your religion unfettered and I support your right to do so.
    But you do not have the right to practice your religion in the public sphere when doing so negatively impacts on the rights of others.
    That isn’t bigotry, its equal treatment – whereas you want exceptions and special treatment.
    And all of the courts support that!!!
    Yes you have the right to practice your religion, but you do not have the right to infect others with it.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    As I have explained to you, all gay people are asking for is equal treatment. Whereas what you are asking for is an exception or special treatment so that you can carry on discriminating. That’s the difference and why you’re on the wrong side of history!!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    Why shouldn’t the Pope be insulted – he insults Gay people all of the time!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    It seems we are witnessing the end of the Christian era – Hallelujah and Amen.

  • Sweetjae

    We are here for thousands of years and still growing, dream on!

  • Sweetjae

    Humanae Vitae is NOT considered as duly proclaimed infallible teaching yet under the Ordinary Magisterium (Papal Encyclicals) like the Teachings of Vatican 2. I mentioned the way Protestants think the way they use the ‘pick and choose’ tactic which is orthodox or not thus they fragment and ultraTrad as yourself also use the same tactic thus also fragment into different sects.

  • Sweetjae

    You are wrong again. I’m not denying there are various degrees of assent, the POINT is, at the end of the day after all theological debates or whatnot, a catholic has to give his assent. period. Act contrary to the said teaching as you have endorsed from your post is unCatholic. Period.

  • Sweetjae

    Yes they are all binding, what do you think the Discussion for Reconciliation of Rome and SSPX is all about in the first place???Obedience and assent OR meeting for leisure trip?

  • Sweetjae

    Contraception is not taught in the first Council of Jerusalem (Acts -Bible). It was about circumcision and other Kosher Laws that a Christian need not follow to be of good standing in the Church.

  • JabbaPapa

    Good grief, yet another ridiculous strawman …

    who points out that the Bible is consistent with geocentrism

    I have consulted the Scripture in all of the verses that supposedly “support” this line of argument.

    The reality is that there is not a single statement in the Bible describing the shape of the World.

  • JabbaPapa

    Your fantasy life is obviously quite vivid.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    I think you are the one living the fantasy!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    Two thousand is hardly thousands…
    But still growing? Aha your churches are emptying.

  • JabbaPapa

    Try finding something from the UK

    ???

    What is this UK-centric prejudice ?

    And I note you don’t comment on your obsession with sex and exclusion of love!!!

    You’re the one ranting on about homosexuality, not me.

    You believe they should be Catholics? What you think every Gay person should be Catholic?!!

    Everyone, homosexuals included.

    Why should this surprise you ?

    Gay people aren’t trying to force anything, it isn’t political and it isn’t ideological.

    Good grief !!!

    Either your naïveté is elephantine in size, or you’re just directly lying.

    Either way, it seems pointless to even *try* having conversation with you.

    Enjoy your prejudices !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    It would have been quicker and more honest to just type “yes”.

  • JabbaPapa

    Your insistence in discussing theological questions from your position of ignorance is tiresome — and BTW, only theologians and those with a particular personal charism are even allowed to discuss such theological questions in public anyway, and strictly within the limits of their competence.

    FYI many of the teachings of Humanae Vitae are included in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is infallibly binding on all Catholics.

    You are teaching against Catholic dogma by claiming the fallibility of these teachings.

    This is both forbidden, and directly sinful, because of the risk of leading your readers into doctrinal errors and heresies.

  • JabbaPapa

    Your comments are totally inconsistent with anything that I have written.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    Aha great reply – “Enjoy your prejudices” – is that the best you can do!

    Other than telling us everyone should be Catholic, you don’t have a response to anything.

    You think everyone should be Catholic and you tell me to enjoy my prejudices!!!

    You’re on the losing side of history – you’ve lost your argument. Enjoy your prejudices bigot.

  • JabbaPapa

    A response that you have clearly failed to understand.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSAARIUG6RZZR6PAT3PQUVJ2DI Nick

    Nope, I believe in religious freedom – you have the right to practice your religion unfettered and I support your right to do so.
    But you do not have the right to practice your religion in the public sphere when doing so negatively impacts on the rights of others.
    That isn’t bigotry, its equal treatment – whereas you want exceptions and special treatment.
    And all of the courts support that!!!
    Yes you have the right to practice your religion, but you do not have the right to infect others with it.

  • JabbaPapa

    This teaching from Aquinas is EXACTLY coherent with the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

    Very clearly, you do not understand what you’re reading, nor what you’re talking about.

    I must emphatically enjoin you to stop spreading these false theologies in public, as they are Errors that can potentially lead to heresies.