Shirley Chaplin, Gary McFarlane and Lillian Ladele are to appeal to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights against the rejection of their claims by the Fourth Section.
News of the appeal was reported by the Telegraph in Christians launch landmark human rights case.
…Papers in the three cases are to be submitted this week that will claim British courts are applying double standards towards Christians for “political” reasons, and that human rights rules have been used to effectively outlaw beliefs which have been held for millennia while affording special recognition to minority opinions on anything from fox hunting to climate change.
Meanwhile “self-evidently absurd” health and safety rules are being used as a “ruse” to prevent Christians wearing crosses while outward expressions of other faiths are welcomed, they say.
An overzealous and one-sided interpretation of rules has brought human rights law itself into disrepute and exposed the British judiciary itself to “ridicule”, they argue.
The open attack on the judiciary and escalation of rhetoric is a high-risk strategy supporters believe is necessary to “draw a line in the sand”…
…In a written submission to the chamber, it has been argued that the margin of appreciation has been applied in these cases so as to render the protections under Article 9 meaningless, and that UK courts were effectively outlawing Christian beliefs through a one-sided application of human rights law in favour of minority groups.
“The United Kingdom has an overall good record on human rights; in recent years this has come into sharp contrast due to a number of decisions made against Christians,” the submission says.
“Christian views on the upbringing of children by two parents have not been recognised as a religious view at all; whilst views on global warming, fox hunting, and even the BBC as a public broadcaster have been recognised.”
In Gary and Lillian’s case, the ECHR ruled that an infringement upon their religious freedom was necessary in order to protect the freedom of others, whilst in Shirley’s case it said that a similar interference was justified on the grounds of “health and safety”.
The submission argues that Gary “was dismissed for his ‘thoughts’ and ‘religious beliefs’ on a wholly theoretical basis”. Whilst “self-evidently absurd” health and safety rules were being used as a “ruse” to stop Christians from wearing the cross at work, whilst those of other faiths were free to manifest their beliefs.
Meanwhile, lawyers in Lillian’s case have argued that the ruling will have “huge implications” for the freedom of teachers and social workers to practice traditional beliefs on marriage and sexual ethics should same-sex ‘marriage’ be introduced.
Andrea Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Gary and Shirley, said: “We are throwing down the gauntlet to David Cameron to decide once and for all whether he is in favour of religious freedom or not.
“These are cases where the only victims were the Christians trying to live out their faith in the workplace but who were driven out for doing so.
“As the pleadings in Gary McFarlane’s case make clear, Christians are now being punished for ‘thought crimes’.”