Thinking Anglicans

Discrimination on grounds of religion?

According to a recent report in the Telegraph,

European judges have ordered ministers to make a formal statement on whether it believes Christians’ rights have been infringed by previous decisions in the British courts, which have repeatedly dismissed their right to dress and act according to their beliefs.

The move by the European Court in Strasbourg is because Christians who believe they have suffered discrimination for their beliefs are taking a landmark legal fight the court…

Their cases have been selected by the European Court as of being of such legal significance that they be examined further.

Once ministers have responded the court will decide whether to have full hearings on them.

You can read the two documents filed with the European Court of Human Rights first here and then here.

This analysis of the subject area by Philip Henson is very helpful: Discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief. Scroll down to Persecuted Christians? for his discussion of these four cases:

How many of you have forgotten about the “big four” – the cases of Lillian Ladele, Gary McFarlane, Shirley Chaplin and Nadia Eweida? What do these people all have in common? The answer is that they have all recently issued applications at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The European angle has been massively overlooked almost all legal commentators, but it is the ECHR which will be the final battleground in the struggle for a superior right.

The British Humanist Association had this comment: European Court of Human Rights considers hearing cases which demand more privilege for Christianity.

The Christian Legal Centre had: European Court to rule on Christian discrimination cases.


  • peterpi - Peter Gross says:

    “If we are successful in Strasbourg, I hope the Equalities Act AND OTHER DIVERSITY LEGISLATION will be overturned or overhauled so that Christians are free to work and act in accordance with their conscience.” – Christian Legal Centre (emphasis mine)

    “Overturned or overhauled” … Yikes! These people don’t want equality. They have equality. They want to be treated more equal than others. They’re OK with non-Christians not discriminating against Christians, but they reserve the right to discriminate — in the name of Christianity.
    One article regarding the nurse said that Sikhs had been asked to remove bangles and Muslims had been asked to wear tighter fitting hijabs. But never mind, the nurse is Christian, and if the crucifix gets caught up in machinery, why that’s the Devil at work — it’s not her problem!
    The registrar? She’s there to register proper marriages or civil partnerships, as laid out in law, including changes in law. She knew her duties when she was hired. She could simply find another clerical position in the private sector. An atheist who thought gay partnerships were “icky” and “gross” and refused to properly register such partnerships would be fired also, but never mind, no gay couples please, she’s Christian!
    Let’s talk real discrimination! How about France banning all Muslim women from wearing the hijab in public, period. Persecution? How about Christians in China? Or Baha’i believers in Iran being hunted down, tortured, and hanged? Or Nigeria, where Muslims and Christians attack each other? Oh, I forgot, Nigeria practices “proper” Christianity. Never mind.
    This is an insult to all Christians who have no problem with equalities or civil rights legislation. It goes back to evangelicals and conservatives feeling that only they practice the “proper” Christian faith and doctrine, and therefore are privileged.
    Jesus still weeps.
    What on God’s green Earth is the European Court of Human Rights thinking?

  • Archbishop George Carey and Bishop Michael Nazi-Ali have a lot to answer for. Their protestation of discrimination against Christians in the U.K. has borne this sort of fruit. What sort of justice will come out of this action, and will it reflect well upon the Church?

  • Benedict says:

    There IS discrimination against Christians in the Uk, Father Smith. What have we come to, when an airways employee is prevented from wearing the supremely Christian symbol of the cross around her neck, or when a Christian nurse prays with a patient who has requested this, and yet she is castigated for doing so? Your world view appears to be one in which anything goes, which is anything but Christian. “I am the way, the truth and the life” says Jesus. Wake up and smell the coffee.

  • Katie says:

    I am shocked I am American. I work in a hospital and they ask that you not wear diamond rings, necklaces (unless it is breakaway), or long nails, not because of discrimination, but because of MRSA. They have done studies and have found MRSA under long finger nails and in the setting of rings. They ask for no jewelry because they have had patients choked the nurses and other staff. I have had a friend that had MRSA really bad and she almost died. Why can’t you look at the big picture and not just yourself. There are other reasons besides religion, and you need to look at them.

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