The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Christians should be allowed to wear crosses in the workplace, but only if they’re discreet, and in situations where our freedom of religion and freedom of conscience come into conflict with the rights of homosexuals in the workplace we are no longer covered by the European Convention’s freedom of religion or freedom of conscience.
As Keith Porteous-Wood of the National Secular Society has concluded from the ruling, Christians now have the freedom to lose their jobs, lose their livelihoods and put their families and homes at risk if our rights come into conflict with the rights of homosexuals. Keith Porteous-Wood, who is a homosexual, said:
‘”Religious people who feel elements of their job go against their conscience can always find employment that better matches their needs. That is true religious freedom.”
Here are extracts from the European Court of Human Rights ruling:
Christians allowed to wear discreet crosses
‘Ms Eweida’s cross was discreet and cannot have detracted from her professional appearance. There was no evidence that the wearing of other,previously authorised, items of religious clothing, such as turbans and hijabs, by other employees, had any negative impact on British Airways’ brand or image…The Court therefore concludes that, in these circumstances where there is no evidence of any real encroachment on the interests of others, the domestic authorities failed sufficiently to protect the first applicant’s right to manifest her religion, in breach of the positive obligation under Article 9.’
Christians not allowed to follow their consciences
However, for the Court the most important factor to be taken into account is that the employer’s action was intended to secure the implementation of its policy of providing a service without discrimination. The State authorities therefore benefitted from a wide margin of appreciation in deciding where to strike the balance between Mr McFarlane’s right to manifest his religious belief and the employer’s interest in securing the rights of others. In all the circumstances, the Court does not consider that this margin of appreciation was exceeded in the present case.
Protect the Pope comment: The European Court’s decision to allow us to wear crosses, so long as they are discreet shows the extent to which we have lost our freedom to determine our own lives. Employers and courts have no inherent right to determine if we can wear crosses in the work place, they have seized this right through employers assuming total control over their employees as if they were mere units of production and through the State and its courts assuming they have total control over every aspect of our lives because we are citizens. Both employers and the State enforce their control over our lives through the threat of violence, our financial ruin through being sacked, fined and imprisoned.
However, we do not owe our religious freedom to the State and its courts, our freedom is inherent as creatures made in the image and likeness of God and as adopted children of God through the grace of Christ.
The European Court’s ruling that the rights of homosexuals supersede our rights to religious freedom and freedom of conscience confirms the fact that David Cameron’s quadruple lock safe-guarding the churches from being forced to conduct same-sex marriages are just empty words signifying absolutely nothing. The European Court has made it clear that when balancing the rights of homosexuals with the rights of Christians, it will always give precedence to the rights of homosexuals. The Catholic Church in this country should begin putting plans in place to deal with this certainty.