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← Christians have no right to wear cross at work, says Government

Christians have no right to wear cross at work, says Government - Comments

deesklo's Avatar Comment 1 by deesklo

What if I dislike black people? Can I please sack them all too?

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 04:24:00 UTC | #926032

ingold.a's Avatar Comment 2 by ingold.a

    Okay, I'm about as athiest/secular minded as one can get and I think this is outright ridiculous. I mean, come on it's a necklace. I know that the same respect wouldn't be given to me if I wanted to wear an atheistic symbol to work, but who cares?

Let the religous wear their magical jewelry, and allow me the opportunity of recognizing them from a distance. I hope the motion is ruled in the womens' favor.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 04:26:32 UTC | #926034

Bobwundaye's Avatar Comment 3 by Bobwundaye

I think it is ridiculous to try and make the wearing of a cross a separate right, since it should be covered under freedom of expression.

However, it is equally ridiculous of these companies to try and ban their employees from wearing an item of jewelry that does not interfere with their work.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 04:27:48 UTC | #926035

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 4 by xmaseveeve

The burka is not a religious requirement either. It's not in the Koran and is a hadith. It should, however, be banned under face coverings. Then Muslim women could wear a small symbol, as could Christians. This is all a red herring.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 04:34:06 UTC | #926041

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 5 by Neodarwinian

Too far!

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 04:52:42 UTC | #926043

Michael Gray's Avatar Comment 6 by Michael Gray

If health & safety considerations, and prior agreed contractual obligations are being honoured, what's the fuss?
What if Christians choose to tattoo a cross on a normally visible part of their skin?
Or an atheist symbol?

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 05:33:13 UTC | #926047

debonnesnouvelles's Avatar Comment 7 by debonnesnouvelles

"Judges in Strasbourg will next decide whether all four cases will progress to full hearings. If they proceed, the cases will test how religious rights are balanced against equality laws designed to prohibit discrimination."

I don't get this. Can anyone explain? How do cases of whether or not you can wear garment depictions of torture and martyrdom from your favorite fairy tale around your neck at work compare to questions of discrimination against gay people?

Sadly, we know who will get the blame for this crazy news item. After all this hype of the last weeks, the papers and public are not going to resist the temptation and attribute the hunt for the christian necklace to "the militant atheist". Sigh...

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 05:42:12 UTC | #926049

mmurray's Avatar Comment 8 by mmurray

Comment 3 by Spiritual Atheist :

However, it is equally ridiculous of these companies to try and ban their employees from wearing an item of jewelry that does not interfere with their work.

So you disagree with the NHS uniform and workwear policies and the reasoning behind them?

Michael

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 05:43:37 UTC | #926050

mmurray's Avatar Comment 9 by mmurray

Comment 6 by Michael Gray :

If health & safety considerations, and prior agreed contractual obligations are being honoured, what's the fuss?

But presumably they aren't are they ? Or otherwise the employer would have no case. I assumed this was a case about whether a Christian's "right" to wear the cross over ruled employer policies.

Michael

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 05:49:26 UTC | #926054

mmurray's Avatar Comment 10 by mmurray

Comment 4 by xmaseveeve :

The burka is not a religious requirement either. It's not in the Koran and is a hadith. It should, however, be banned under face coverings. Then Muslim women could wear a small symbol, as could Christians. This is all a red herring.

I didn't know Muslim women could wear a small red herring. Is that like the Christian fish symbol ?

Michael

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 05:57:56 UTC | #926055

Bobwundaye's Avatar Comment 11 by Bobwundaye

Comment 8 by mmurray

So you disagree with the NHS uniform and workwear policies and the reasoning behind them?

Ill start off by admitting that I did not thoroughly read the whole document but scanned it. They set out their reasoning for wearing and not wearing various items of clothing quite well and give reasons of why certain items of clothing would interfere.

The weakest part of their argument is facial piercings and tattoos, and wearing jewelry other than a ring or studded earrings, but even here I am willing to give them leeway.

So I am interested, which parts do you think I would disagree with based on my statement that it is ridiculous of these companies to try and ban their employees from wearing an item of jewelry that does not interfere with their work?

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 06:02:26 UTC | #926056

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 12 by susanlatimer

Comment 9 by mmurray

I assumed this was a case about whether a Christian's "right" to wear the cross over ruled employer policies.

So did I. That seems straightforward enough. But it gets tricky.

They say that Christians are given less protection than members of other religions who have been granted special status for garments or symbols such as the Sikh turban and kara bracelet, or the Muslim hijab.

The Government’s official response states that wearing the cross is not a “requirement of the faith” and therefore does not fall under the remit of Article 9.

If the government's response was that none of those articles overruled employer policies, that would be one thing. But if the real issue is ruling on what a requirement of faith is, I don't know what to think.

Things are very strange indeed when employer policies can be overruled by "requirements of the faith" and it is left up to the government to determine what constitutes a "requirement of the faith".

Does anyone have more information about the nature of the legal argument?

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 06:15:43 UTC | #926057

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 13 by susanlatimer

Comment 10 by mmurray

I didn't know Muslim women could wear a small red herring. Is that like the Christian fish symbol ?

I always assumed the christian fish symbol WAS a red herring.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 06:17:55 UTC | #926058

justaperson's Avatar Comment 14 by justaperson

It does seem excessive. Better to report people who proselytize on the job or insist on injecting god into their conversation every chance they get.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 06:43:44 UTC | #926061

paulmcuk's Avatar Comment 15 by paulmcuk

I was admittedly unaware of the details of Article 9 before.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief...

All right and proper. But...

...and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

...is more problematic. On the face of it, it gives religionistas carte blance to preach their nonsense anywhere at any time, regardless of whether people want to listen.

As far as the case in hand goes, this does not seem to require that maifesting a religion be only in ways that are required by that religion, as the government is stating. But I'm no lawyer. Like most people I don't give a hoot about whether someone wears a crucifix (subject to genuine health and safety reasons against it) but I feel I have to support the government's stance on a line-in-the-sand basis. If "non-required" manifestations are allowed, then there are many others that could elbow their way in that are much more harmful than crucifixes.

That said, I have to wonder how the hijab came to be classed as "required". My, admittedly poor, understanding is that the only requirement on woman in islam is that they dress "modestly". This is open to a huge range of interpretation and many muslim women wear no headgear at all. Something which is open to to such variance of interpretation cannot be a requirement. It also begs the question of whether muslims in France have tried to use Article 9 to overturn the French burka ban.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 07:20:16 UTC | #926064

mmurray's Avatar Comment 16 by mmurray

Comment 11 by Spiritual Atheist :

Comment 8 by mmurray

So you disagree with the NHS uniform and workwear policies and the reasoning behind them?

Ill start off by admitting that I did not thoroughly read the whole document but scanned it. They set out their reasoning for wearing and not wearing various items of clothing quite well and give reasons of why certain items of clothing would interfere.

The weakest part of their argument is facial piercings and tattoos, and wearing jewelry other than a ring or studded earrings, but even here I am willing to give them leeway.

I'll admit to worse than that I just did a search for "jewellery".

So I am interested, which parts do you think I would disagree with based on my statement that it is ridiculous of these companies to try and ban their employees from wearing an item of jewelry that does not interfere with their work?

I read the sentence

However, it is equally ridiculous of these companies to try and ban their employees from wearing an item of jewelry that does not interfere with their work.

as being a statement that you thought that these companies had tried to ban these staff from wearing "an time of jewellery that does not interfere with their work" as if you knew that the item did not interfere with their work. Did you mean something like

it would be ridiculous of these companies to try and ban their employees from wearing an item of jewellery if it does not interfere with their work

Perhaps we are talking at cross-purposes.

Michael

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 07:20:22 UTC | #926065

mmurray's Avatar Comment 17 by mmurray

Comment 15 by paulmcuk :

...is more problematic. On the face of it, it gives religionistas carte blance to preach their nonsense anywhere at any time, regardless of whether people want to listen.

Yes it's a bit over the top. I would much rather manifest was replaced by requirements as the government interprets it.

As far as the case in hand goes, this does not seem to require that maifesting a religion be only in ways that are required by that religion, as the government is stating. But I'm no lawyer. Like most people I don't give a hoot about whether someone wears a crucifix (subject to genuine health and safety reasons against it)

What about the desire of an organisation to have staff who are the public face of that organisation presenting a sort of neutral face to the world? I assume this is what motivates the BS case. I think when I ask for service from a service desk or the like I am talking to the company and don't want to be distracted by a staff members BNP t-shirt, freemasons handshake or even atheist badge. Aren't their job situations where you ought to leave your political and other opinions at home?

Michael

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 07:28:17 UTC | #926067

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 18 by susanlatimer

Comment 17 by mmurray

What about the desire of an organisation to have staff who are the public face of that organisation presenting a sort of neutral face to the world? I assume this is what motivates the BS case. I think when I ask for service from a service desk or the like I am talking to the company and don't want to be distracted by a staff members BNP t-shirt, freemasons handshake or even atheist badge. Aren't their job situations where you ought to leave your political and other opinions at home?

I'm still trying to figure this out so this is in the form of a question more than it's an opinion.

If a Sikh is wearing a turban at the hotel desk, it IS a political statement. At the same time, I know that it's a requirement of religion and an expression of culture, so I don't question it. This is where things get strange for me when I'm trying to sort out the issue.

A christian cross would annoy me (although I wouldn't complain mostly because most of my dealings with it would be fleeting and superficial) but if it violated health and safety codes, I would land solidly against the christian cross.

What about the Sikh turban? (I'm not singling out Sikhs. It's a nice, medium example.) Where does religion cease to be politics and/or culture? Where do I draw the line between a Sikh's right to slightly overrule health and safety codes for the benefit of ensuring that Sikhs have access to gainful employment, provided that they competently do their job?

One of the strangest aspects of secularism is that religion has a special category that is all about politics and culture and is strangely exempt from the rules of politics and culture. The lines get very, very blurry.

I'm grateful for this discussion. What I thought was a very straightforward issue has reminded me that nothing is straight forward when discussing politics, culture, human rights and law. Our intuitive ideas about the curved lines that should be there often have to manifest themselves in awkwardly angled etch-a-sketch approaches, with the hope that we'll gradually make progress. And that we should be thoughtful, active and never complacent.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 07:51:14 UTC | #926072

sbooder's Avatar Comment 19 by sbooder

Quite frankly, I will argue for their right to wear a cross anywhere and at ant time if they so wish. In my mind this is as much an issue as gay marriage, i.e. not an issue at all.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 08:00:18 UTC | #926074

RomeStu's Avatar Comment 20 by RomeStu

Once again it is all being blown out of proportion to rile the faithful .... Have a look at the comments of the Telegraph website.

It is about whether people have a RIGHT to wear a VISIBLE symbol which overrules the pre-existing company rules for jewelry.

BA had a no visible jewelry policy. Hospitals have health and safety issues with dangly bits.

Why can't they just wear it under their clothes as work? As someone mentioned above, if the plaintiffs win in Europe it will open the floodgates for religiously-inspired lawsuits....... but then again at least they won't be able to stop me carrying my lightsabre!

I imagine the Conservatives have seen the inherent danger in this case and it must be killing them to have to pursue it against the braying of the bishops and the Telegraph readership..... Oh, the irony.

Still if the plaintiffs do win, we should start a movement among atheist nurses and doctors to prominently display our big red A to show their bizarre idea that a hospital might be better served by scientifically trained medics rather than chaplains and woo!

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 08:14:33 UTC | #926075

RomeStu's Avatar Comment 21 by RomeStu

Comment 6 by Michael Gray :

What if Christians choose to tattoo a cross on a normally visible part of their skin? Or an atheist symbol?

Michael, do you think the sort of companies that have a dress/jewelry code for their staff might not also have one for tattoos. You are either being deliberately obtuse, or you simply do not understand that this is not stopping the people wearing the symbol, just not wearing it openly while on duty, due to pre-existing company or workplace policy.

You appear to endorse a total free for all when it comes to companies having any say of the dress of their employees.

No one would stop you getting a crucifix tattooed on your face, but no one would guarantee you the right to a job after you did it.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 08:24:04 UTC | #926077

mmurray's Avatar Comment 22 by mmurray

Comment 19 by sbooder :

Quite frankly, I will argue for their right to wear a cross anywhere and at ant time if they so wish. In my mind this is as much an issue as gay marriage, i.e. not an issue at all.

In contravention of employer policies ? Does this apply also to Rotary badges, atheist, badges or just Christians ?

Michael

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 08:24:08 UTC | #926078

RomeStu's Avatar Comment 23 by RomeStu

Hang on a minute, this is interesting ......

UK Legislation Regarding its use by Sikhs The following is a list of legislation in the UK which has a bearing on the right of a Sikh to wear the Turban. Contents [hide]  1 Construction Site 2 Riding Motor Cycles 3 Education and Workplace

Construction Site

Q. Should you refuse employment to a turban-wearing Sikh who refuses to wear a safety helmet on a construction site? Where employees, or potential employees have particular cultural and religious needs which conflict with existing work requirements, it is recommended that employers should consider whether it is reasonably practical to vary or adapt these requirements to enable these needs to be met. For example, it is recommended that they should not refuse employment to a turbaned Sikh because he could not comply with unjustifiable uniform requirements. S11 of the Employment Act 1989 exempts turban-wearing Sikhs from any requirements to wear safety helmets on a construction site. Where a turban-wearing Sikh is injured on a construction site liability for injuries is restricted to the injuries that would have been sustained if the Sikh had been wearing a safety helmet. Riding Motor Cycles

Sikhs who wear Turbans need not wear crash helmets when they ride Motor Cycles or Scooters. They have been allowed to wear Turban as their only headgear. In accordance with the Motor-Cycle Crash Helmets (Religious Exemption) Act 1976 passed by the British Parliament in 1976, Section 2A "exempts any follower of the Sikh religion while he is wearing a turban" from having to wear a crash helmet. Education and Workplace

Nobody in the UK should be discriminated against or harassed because of their race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin. The Race Relations Act protects everyone from being treated less favourably than others because of their race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin. If anybody does discriminate against anyone on account of any of the above reasons, they can complain to an employment tribunal or a county court (in Scotland, this would be a sheriff’s court).

Source "SikhiWiki" - yes, there a wiki for Sikhs.

Interesting that if a sikh on a construction site in a turban is injured thevliability is limited to injuries as if he had been wearing a helmet, which if I am not being thick, means that it is his choice and his risk to take that job and refuse to wear a helmet.

Doesn't seem to be the same for injuries from motorcycle accidents.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 08:36:22 UTC | #926079

alltruism's Avatar Comment 24 by alltruism

I'm not decided one way or the other yet - but I would group wearing a cross in with wearing political badges or company-branded items (for companies other than the one the person is working for) at work.

When you are working for a company, should they be able to prevent you wearing items that effectively advertise or demonstrate allegiance with other companies, political parties, or organisations (including religious ones)?

I think the answer is probably yes, because allowing employees to wear such things may appear as endorsement of those things by their employer.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 08:38:11 UTC | #926080

Rich Wilson's Avatar Comment 25 by Rich Wilson

What about lighsabers? Aren't Jedi required to wear a lightsaber at all times?

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 08:41:05 UTC | #926081

Rodger T's Avatar Comment 26 by Rodger T

Christians should be thankful Vlad the Impaler wasn`t the one who killed Jeebus.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 08:47:32 UTC | #926083

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 27 by Richard Dawkins

Comment deleted by author. Duplicate post

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 08:50:07 UTC | #926084

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 28 by Richard Dawkins

If read superficially (which it will be) this might sound as though the government wishes to ban the wearing of crosses, in the same way as the burqa is banned in France. That is not what this is about. This is about the privileging of other religions, who claim that the wearing of religious symbols is a requirement of the religion, and about whether Christianity should claim similar privileging. The government's case at the European court assumes that the law should respect whatever a religion might claim is a requirement of that religion. In other words, the question is whether, given that there is some other reason for an employer to ban the wearing of a cross, Christians should be allowed to challenge the employer by claiming religious privilege in the same way as other religions do.

Sikhs claim that they are obliged by a religious ruling to carry a dagger, the kirpan. In many countries this religious 'requirement' is the basis of an exemption from the law against carrying an offensive weapon, a law that everyone else has to obey. In Britain, a leading Sikh lawyer has argued that children should be exempt from school rules against bringing a dagger to school, because to prevent them is an infringement of the children's right to practise their religion (he should have said the religion of their parents, of course, but let that pass). Sikh men are 'required' by a religious ruling to wear a turban. The laws of many countries respect this by exempting Sikh motor cyclists from the obligation to wear a crash helmet.

The government's case in the European court accepts that religion provides grounds for exemption from the law. The only issue at stake is whether the Christian religion 'requires' Christians to wear a cross (which it obviously doesn't).

I am not in favour of banning crosses unless it can be shown that, like daggers, they can do damage or should be banned for other reasons in particular circumstances which might be discussed. But I am also not in favour of religion being used as grounds for exemption from any law that the rest of us have to obey.

Richard

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 08:51:39 UTC | #926085

sbooder's Avatar Comment 29 by sbooder

      :

In contravention of employer policies ? Does this apply also to Rotary badges, atheist, badges or just Christians ?Michael

No, but those policies pertains to all jewellery, if they do not then it is discriminatory.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 08:52:33 UTC | #926087

mmurray's Avatar Comment 30 by mmurray

Comment 24 by alltruism :

I'm not decided one way or the other yet - but I would group wearing a cross in with wearing political badges or company-branded items (for companies other than the one the person is working for) at work.

When you are working for a company, should they be able to prevent you wearing items that effectively advertise or demonstrate allegiance with other companies, political parties, or organisations (including religious ones)?

I think the answer is probably yes, because allowing employees to wear such things may appear as endorsement of those things by their employer.

I agree. It also complicates the position that the customer is always right if you are waving political slogans the customer disagrees with in their face.

Michael

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 09:00:16 UTC | #926090