Thinking Anglicans

British Airways to review policy

Updated twice Saturday

More on the British Airways affair.

Earlier today, both Giles Fraser and Stephen Bates expressed opinions:
Christians urgently need to offer a better account of the cross than simply that it’s a badge of identity
A cross BA has to bear.

News reports of developments in the story flowed all day:
BBC Bishop condemns BA’s cross policy,

Evening Standard 13 bishops join the chorus against BA’s ban on cross.

This afternoon, the CofE issued Archbishop of Canterbury comments on British Airways.

This was quickly picked up in the media, e.g. Reuters Anglicans review ties to British Airways over cross.

And then, British Airways announced: British Airways to review uniform policy.

Saturday reports
The Times BA responds to backlash by lifting ban on small crosses
Guardian How the archbishop took on the world’s favourite airline – and won
Telegraph BA will review uniform policy after crucifix row (Note to Damian T: please tell your headline writers the difference between a cross and a crucifix)

Update The Daily Mail reported crucial additional information:

Archbishop Peter Akinola, Anglican leader in Nigeria, said: ‘As far as we are concerned the decision to ban the cross by BA has religious undercurrents.

‘The trend in your country is to devalue its religious heritage. If BA says no to the cross, we shall start using another airline. I shall do everything I can to urge Christian leaders to boycott BA.’

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josephFord ElmsDaveWChristopher ShellGöran Koch-Swahne Recent comment authors
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Merseymike
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I do hope this will include secular symbols too – I’d go for a Darwin fish or a rainbow flag.

Martin Reynolds
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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.

Stephen Wikner
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Stephen Wikner

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.

DaveW
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DaveW

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… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
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J. C. Fisher

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. 🙁

Diana Smith
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Diana Smith

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.

Steve Watson.
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Steve Watson.

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.… Read more »

DaveW
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DaveW

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

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Steve

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).

Craig Nelson
Guest
Craig Nelson

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… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

One of the Dave Williams’s wrote: “… though for many it would be a sexual symbol.”

Pastor Phelps and consortes?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

I am all with Craig Nelson!

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

‘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.

DaveW
Guest
DaveW

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… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

DaveW,
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.

DaveW
Guest
DaveW

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… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

DaveW, 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… Read more »

joseph
Guest
joseph

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.