Comments: British Airways to review policy

I do hope this will include secular symbols too - I'd go for a Darwin fish or a rainbow flag.

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 24 November 2006 at 11:04pm GMT

I found it interesting that on the day BA was forced to reconsider its ban on wearing the cross, the teachers aid disciplined for wearing a veil in front of male colleagues was sacked.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Saturday, 25 November 2006 at 9:12am GMT

With reference to your note to Damian Thompson 'Please tell your headline writers the difference between a cross and a crucifix' - I wrote along similar lines to The Times and Beeb some weeks ago. Needless to say, it hasn't made the blindest bit of difference to the reporting by either of these august institutions. Ignorance in this, as indeed in so many other matters, not only reigns but will not be challenged.

Posted by Stephen Wikner at Saturday, 25 November 2006 at 9:41am GMT

Naturally BA has had to reconsider (sadly I fear it may have co-incided with it coming to light that the CofE has shares) in the light of such opposition to the inconsistencies. Still, let everything that has breath praise the Lord.!!

Dear Merseymike and Martin Reynolds,
The inconsistency was in the fact that BA recognised some garments as religious which were impractical to hide but treated the cross merely as jewellery.
Of course people will always wish to promote what they believe in and in this case of course it was the cross which is a reminder of Jesus sacrifice for all on the cross.
Mind you as a Christian I like the idea of a rainbow flag as a reminder that God made all people and Christ died for all ... though for many it would be a sexual symbol.

Posted by DaveW at Saturday, 25 November 2006 at 9:55am GMT

Ah yes, that great defender of human rights speaks out: Archbishop Akinola. {sarcasm/OFF}

[Of course, if an employee of a Nigerian airlines wore a gay rights symbol, they could not only be sacked, but *arrested*, w/ ++PJA's blessing?]

Irony is alive and well. :-(

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Saturday, 25 November 2006 at 8:24pm GMT

Giles Fraser writes:

"During the lifetime of Jesus of Nazarath, the cross was an ever present reminder of Roman power. It wasn't anything religious at all, rather, a hated symbol of occupation, a weapon of psychological terror that spelt out of the cost of resistance and kept people frightened."

having recently returned from a visit to Bethlehem and having seen the Separation Wall and its checkpoint up close and personal, perhaps we should seriously consider wearing replicas of the Separation Wall around our necks.

Posted by Diana Smith at Sunday, 26 November 2006 at 2:29am GMT

I find rainbow flags rather cloying, as they remind me of nurseries and infant class rooms. However, I agree that this religious symbol should be reclaimed as a reminder of God's wonderful preservation of Noah and his family (Gen. 9:16), after the destruction of the earth for its violence and depravity (Gen. 6:1-7).
As for 'secular symbols', I am not sure why one would want to wear one, as the point behind secularist campaigns is to create a naked public square from which faith has been banished.
I imagine there will still be some limitations to British Airway's revised policy. As any visitor to India knows, the swastika is a beloved symbol of the Hindu and Buddhist religions, but less popular outside certain reaches of Europe.

Posted by Steve Watson. at Sunday, 26 November 2006 at 9:42am GMT

Dear Diana Smith,
But surely as thinking anglicans we would want the cross as a symbol of worship to Jesus, not the wall in Jerusalem around our necks? I mean we want Jesus Christ as Lord dont we? I do anyway
God wants blessing is on all people in that region doesnt He. Isaiah 19

Posted by DaveW at Sunday, 26 November 2006 at 9:55am GMT


I thought that the Nazi swastika was a perversion of the Hindu and Buddhist religions (he'd swapped directions)? Years ago, I remember reading that was one of things about Hitler as that he somehow seemed to want to dirty everything. (Probably had Conduct Disorder).

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Sunday, 26 November 2006 at 4:38pm GMT

There is a clear strand of biblical teaching that says we should be obedient and co-operative with our employers. Presumably that has gone over board now - interesting how biblical injunctions can easily be put to one side when there's a bandwagon in town.

BA has a desire that its employees that serve the public do not come laden down with adornments or use their employment to put forward their moral or religious viewpoints. That seems to me to be legitimate and reasonable.

As for the cross, I didn't realsie that wearing a cross in the form of jewellery was a form of religious observance ie that you are a better christian if you wear the cross and a worse christian if you don't and that presumably any employer is obliged to permit their staff to start wearing religious jewellery (mine doesn't).

I feel that our Christian leaders have been utterly lacking in any sense of either balance or leadership which is leading to each and every religious group seeking to outdo each other in terms of victimhood.

There are Christians who face discrimination and persecution (eg in some Islamic countries) - the participants of this particular bandwagon probably haven't the first clue what discrimination or persecution entail.

We are now on the path to perdition - "me too" victimhood, religions outdoing each other to claim they are being hard done to and presumably everyone who has a religion has either a right or a duty to manifest it in jewellery and every on else has to tolerate that.

In going down this road community relations will ultimately be destroyed and it feeds into the perceptions of persecution banded about by the BNP and they will be the ultimate beneficiaries of all of this non-sense.

We do not unfortunately have any bishops with the moral authority to resist jumping on a populist Daily Mail headline seeking bandwagon. I suppose they have to do something to restore their failing moral authority.

I don't blame BA - they exist to make money and the campaign left them with no choice here - but next we will have people feeling they have a point to make in a way that has nothing to do with biblical christianity. But that is what we are being reduced to.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Sunday, 26 November 2006 at 9:59pm GMT

One of the Dave Williams's wrote: "... though for many it would be a sexual symbol."

Pastor Phelps and consortes?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 27 November 2006 at 7:59am GMT

I am all with Craig Nelson!

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 27 November 2006 at 7:59am GMT

'The trend in [Britain] is to devalue its...heritage': This gets to the heart of the issue. How contrary can Britons get? One doesn't throw away a treasure.
Said heritage has been a key factor in the education & empowerment of many cultures worldwide. But it takes representatives of those cultures to point out their own debt of gratitude.
The rest is mere talk.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Monday, 27 November 2006 at 1:22pm GMT

Dear Craig Nelson,
I think you make some good points but..
I dont entirely blame BA except for its allowing the diversity bandwagon, which caused all this trouble in the first place.
BA may indeed not want their employees to use their employment to put forward their moral or religious viewpoints.... but in allowing the turban and the hijab of course they do.
As to Christians who face discrimination and persecution as in some Islamic countries, yes I know very well about that.
And you wrote "the participants of this particular bandwagon probably haven't the first clue what discrimination or persecution entail."
Actually I would suggest particpants like Michael Nazir-Ali and John Sentamu have a considerably better idea than you do.
Christ in me the hope of glory, be my everything.
Oh the wonderful cross that bids me come and die so I may truely live.
Yes lets wear it and testify to it

Posted by DaveW at Monday, 27 November 2006 at 8:43pm GMT

Where does the Bible say I have to wear a Cross as a piece of jewelry? Muslim women are required to wear a head covering. Sikhs are required to wear a turban. So where is the equivalent injunction that Christians wear a Cross? Christians face persecution around the world. For Christians in Britain to claim persecution because they aren't allowed to wear a particualr peice of jewelry is pretty disrespectful of those who get blown to bits for going to Mass on a Sunday.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 28 November 2006 at 2:20pm GMT

Dear Ford Elms,
Where have I said the Bible says the cross has to be worn as a piece of jewelry?
Also I have not heard your idea before that Christians in Britain claim persecution because they aren't allowed to wear the cross, the argument is logical as to why not have the same ability to wear it. Surely you are all for the wearing of such a wonderful testimony to what Jesus Christ has done, if not why not?
You know in many countries one can get arrested for reading from a Bible, this is my country and I love Jesus Christ, I dont wear a cross and I am not angry about this but I soon might wear a cross if people are going to petty about it

Praise God.

God bless you my friend

Posted by DaveW at Wednesday, 29 November 2006 at 11:46am GMT

Muslim women are required to wear a headcovering, as are Sikh men. To ask them to remove it is to ask them to disobey their faith. Christians are not commanded to wear a Cross, so it is not disobedience nor repudiation of our faith if we don't wear one. I think BA's rule is silly. And I also think it shows hostility to Christian faith. But you can't call it persecution when she is not being asked to disobey her God. To do so over this weakens the argument when it actually CAN be validly made. You don't think people have said that? How about:

Ms Eweida: "They are trying to annihilate the Christian faith by asking me to remove the cross."

Bishop Chartres: "I'd be very sorry to think she's been forced by a regulation which smacks of religious intolerance"

Bishop Reade: "This is another example of Christians being discriminated against in what was a Christian country"

Bishop Gledhill: "want to destroy the spiritual foundation of our nation"

Cardinal O'Brien: "the latest stage in the attempted destruction of Christianity"

The situation in Britain seems to be a lot more hostile to Christianity than it is here, for some reason. I'm sure there are examples of real discrimination. There's also downright silliness, like pretending Christmas is some sort of winter festival. This, however, is being blown out of all proportion by both sides.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 30 November 2006 at 1:46pm GMT

Actually muslims dont have to wear the head covering it isnt in the Koran, and half my family is sikh and dont wear any turbans as it is not required only suggested in the guru granth sahib.

Posted by joseph at Thursday, 28 August 2008 at 10:20am BST
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