Christians in Britain fear further discrimination after final court ruling - New York News

Christians in Britain fear further discrimination after final court ruling

Updated:

By: Matthew Brown, Deseret News

Faith leaders in the United Kingdom fear a recent court decision rejecting religious discrimination complaints in the workplace could lead to more persecution and job losses for Christians.

The European Court of Human Rights' grand chamber refused to hear the appeals of three people who say they were wrongly disciplined by their employers for their religious beliefs, according to the Guardian. The rejection on Tuesday effectively ends the legal battle that had been monitored closely by both religious liberty advocates and secularists.

Two of the cases involved public employees. One was a local registrar who refused to perform civil partnership ceremonies and another was a relationship counselor who was fired for saying he might object to assisting same-sex couples.

The third case involved a nurse who was moved to an administrative job after she refused to remove a crucifix around her neck.

This past week's development has religious groups concerned, in light of a same-sex marriage bill making its way through Parliament.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which represented two of the workers, told the Telegraph the decision could mean more discrimination for Christians.

“I think there's a terrible chilling impact. People are scared to say what they think for fear of being branded bigoted and phobic. To believe in marriage between a man and a woman has become a view unacceptable in the public aspect.”

The Telegraph reported that secular groups welcomed the decision. The British Humanist Association said "religious beliefs should be accommodated, but not when they impinge upon the rights and freedoms of others."

Peter Saunders wrote in LifeSite News that the cases demonstrate that "under British law gay rights now trump conscience rights and that reasonable accommodation need not be made for employees. At a stroke this puts at risk the job of any employee objecting to helping gay couples in activities they believe to be wrong (eg. celebrating a civil partnership, adopting a baby, having sexual counseling etc)."

He added that the decision of the Grand Chamber has prompted calls for more robust protections to be put in place for Christians in the U.K. government's Marriage Bill. The House of Lords is due to vote on the bill that would legalize same-sex marriage on Monday.

But Saunders said the human rights court, while ruling against Christians in three of four cases, also gave some hope for conscience rights by challenging some of the British courts' reasoning.

For example, the "British government also suggested that because the individuals were free to resign and find other jobs, there had been no infringement of their freedom of religion - in other words, 'your freedom to resign secures your freedom of religion.' But the European Court ruled that 'freedom to resign and find another job' is not sufficient to guarantee religious freedom."

Saunders wrote that such language would be a "great help in contending for Christian freedoms in the UK Courts in the future."

Original post

Copyright 2013 Deseret Digital Media, Inc.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Sanitation men nearly throw away mayor's piano

    Sanitation men nearly throw away mayor's piano

    Friday, August 22 2014 1:39 PM EDT2014-08-22 17:39:56 GMT
    A piano donated by Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop nearly ended up pushing up daises in a landfill instead of making music in a pedestrian plaza. Fulop gave the upright so residents could play tunes in a pedestrian plaza that opened on Monday.
    A piano donated by Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop nearly ended up pushing up daises in a landfill instead of making music in a pedestrian plaza. Fulop gave the upright so residents could play tunes in a pedestrian plaza that opened on Monday.

  • Fitbit responds to data selling accusations

    Fitbit responds to data selling accusations

    Friday, August 22 2014 12:57 PM EDT2014-08-22 16:57:29 GMT
    The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer. San Francisco-based Fitbit said Friday that it has clarified its privacy policy to make it clear the company doesn't share information about its users. Schumer raised concerns about the company's privacy policy earlier this month and called for federal rules to allow consumers to protect their data.
    The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer. San Francisco-based Fitbit said Friday that it has clarified its privacy policy to make it clear the company doesn't share information about its users. Schumer raised concerns about the company's privacy policy earlier this month and called for federal rules to allow consumers to protect their data.
  • 50,000 bees living in NYC ceiling

    50,000 bees living in NYC ceiling

    Friday, August 22 2014 12:27 PM EDT2014-08-22 16:27:29 GMT
    A Queens woman had some unexpected roommates living in her apartment: 50,000 bees. Beekeepers reportedly removed the swarm from Frieda Turkmenilli's ceiling this week after her neighbors in Queens alerted the building manager. Turkmenilli says she saw only a few bees buzzing around over the last few weeks and never realized how many had taken up residence right above her head.
    A Queens woman had some unexpected roommates living in her apartment: 50,000 bees. Beekeepers reportedly removed the swarm from Frieda Turkmenilli's ceiling this week after her neighbors in Queens alerted the building manager. Turkmenilli says she saw only a few bees buzzing around over the last few weeks and never realized how many had taken up residence right above her head.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices