Loading
UK lawyers say Christians may have to choose between faith and job
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Attorneys representing the United Kingdom said last week that Christians might have to forfeit their jobs if they wish to express their faith in the workplace.

“Employees are free to resign if they find their employment incompatible with their religious beliefs,” government lawyer James Eadie said.

“They can obtain alternative employment in which they can reflect their religion as they wish.”

His comments were made at a Sept. 4 hearing in Strasbourg before the European Court of Human Rights, involving four cases of British Christians who claim to have suffered faith-based discrimination at their places of employment.

The plaintiffs assert that existing U.K. law insufficiently protects their rights to freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination at work.

Two were kept from wearing crosses, Nadia Eweida, an employee of British Airways, and Shirley Chaplin, a long-time nurse.

The remaining two are Lilian Ladele, who lost her job with a London borough government for refusing to conduct civil partnerships, and Gary McFarlane, a therapist who was fired for saying he was unable to give sex therapy to homosexual couples.

According to the Daily Mail, Eadie claimed there is “a difference between the professional sphere where your religious beliefs conflict with other interests and the private sphere.”

“Everyone has the right to express their beliefs, including the right to display religious symbols, but not an absolute right or a right without limits,” he added.

“That does not mean that in their professional sphere anyone can manifest their religious belief in any way they choose.”

The lawyers maintained that because the wearing of a cross is a not a “scriptural requirement” of Christianity, employers are not obliged to allow it, also noting that the government believes same-sex couples have a right to equal access to public services.

However, leaders of both the Catholic Church and the Church of England have expressed concern that Christianity is unwelcome in the public sphere in Britain.

Prime Minister David Cameron had told the House of Commons in July that the right to wear crosses at work was “an absolutely vital freedom.”

Pope Benedict also spoke to the tensions in the case when he addressed Parliament during his papal visit to the country in 2010.

“There are those who argue – paradoxically with the intention of eliminating discrimination – that Christians in public roles should be required at times to act against their conscience,” the pontiff told lawmakers.

“These are worrying signs of a failure to appreciate not only the rights of believers to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, but also the legitimate role of religion in the public square.”

All four plaintiffs brought their cases before the U.K. Employment Tribunal, which dismissed their claims. Their lawsuit before the court is based on the articles of the European Convention on Human Rights which concern freedom of religion and prohibition of discrimination.

The court's deliberations are held in private, and the ruling will likely be made in a few months, reported the Daily Mail.

Tags: Religious freedom, Europe

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
Sep
18

Liturgical Calendar

September 18, 2014

Thursday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 7:36-50

Gospel
Date
09/18/14
09/17/14
09/16/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 1 Cor 15: 1-11
Gospel:: Lk 7: 36-50

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
09/18/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 7:36-50

Homily
Date
09/18/14
09/17/14
09/16/14