From the UK Telegraph. (H/T Dina)
Landmark cases, brought by four British Christians, including two workers forced out of their jobs after visibly wearing crosses, were heard on Tuesday at the European Court of Human Rights, a judgement will follow at a later.
Despite previous pledges by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, that he would change the law to protect religious expression at work, government lawyers insisted that there was a “difference between the professional and private sphere”.
James Eadie QC, acting for the government, told the European court that the refusal to allow an NHS nurse and a British Airways worker to visibly wear a crucifix at work “did not prevent either of them practicing religion in private”, which would be protected by human rights law.
[...]The QC also told the court that, unlike the Muslim headscarf for women, wearing a cross is not a “generally recognised” act of Christian worship and is not required by scripture. “A great many Christians do not insist on wearing crosses at all, still less visibly,” he said.
[...]Shirley Chaplin, from Exeter, was moved away from nursing to a clerical role by the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust in Devon after refusing to remove a necklace bearing a crucifix. She has since lost her job after 30 years of nursing.
Mrs Chaplin told The Daily Telegraph that she felt “insulted” by the argument that Christians who are told by their employer that they cannot wear a cross at work can always find another job.
“It is insulting, humiliating and degrading.My Christian faith isn’t something that you put on and then take off to go to work,” she said.
“We are treated differently. Britain is a very tolerant country but we seem to be more tolerant to some groups than others and at the moment we’re not at all tolerant to Christians. You can have faith but not demonstrate it.”
James Dingemans QC, acting for Mrs Eweida, questioned the value of having a right to religious belief if it could not be applied at work, where people spend 80 per cent of their adult lives.
“What value is a right that stops when cross the threshold of work,” he said.
I guess that these secularist lawyers simply don’t understand that there is a requirement for Christians to be public and evangelistic about their faith, and to ask them to act like atheists is to ask them not to be authentic Christians. It’s the most intolerant thing to do to a Christian – to issue a Christian with orders that override their obligations to Jesus Christ. This is not an undue burden on employers and clients – it’s just being allowed to (quietly) be who you are and to signal to others who you are.
Let me illustrate from the Bible exactly what is expected of Christians.
32“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.
33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
1So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.
2Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
That’s what’s at stake here. These are just a couple of examples, there are many more. What gives these left-wing atheists the chutzpah to run around telling other people how to practice their religion? Let each person practice what they believe, and let’s all tolerate the differences. There is a right to practice what you believe, there is no right to control what others believe and to take away their basic human rights just because you are offended. Only people on the left are fascistic like that, and it’s got to stop.
People on the left should reflect and understand what it is exactly that they are doing by marginalizing Christianity and trying to stop people from believing it by shaming and intimidating Christians, and leading people into sin. If Christianity is true, then actions like that are probably the absolute worst thing you can do. It’s particularly nasty when you realize that the reason that secular leftists try to suppress Christians from being authentic Christians is because of their feelings. Secular leftists feel that they have a right to suppress the freedoms of others by force of law, on the grounds that they feel offended by someone else’s religious beliefs and practice.
Let’s double-check that with the Bible and make sure.
6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!
8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.
9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?
13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.
14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
Trying to persuade a Christian that they are wrong is fine, but using the power of the state to take away a faithful Christian’s job, which discourages them from being Christian, is something else. In my view, it’s worse than murder. I think that this sort of heavy-handed, intimidating secular fascism masquerading as “tolerance” is worse than murder. You do not intimidate someone away from an authentic relationship with God as he really is, just because of your feelings of discomfort at public expressions of religious faith. The right of each person to express their religion in public is a basic right, but there is no right not to be offended by someone else’s use of liberty to just be themselves. No one is asking for non-Christians to be forced to convert to Christianity or to be forced to celebrate and affirm Christianity by the power of the state. We’re just asking to be who we are without losing our jobs.