Debate Over Discrimination Against Christians in Britain Gains Steam
The issue of Christian marginalization has gained new heat as the National Secular Society (NSS) recently accused Christian church leaders, including former Archbishop Lord Carey of Canterbury, of seeking special treatment at the Court of Appeals (CA).
This has sparked new debate among Christians, Muslims and secularists about the issue of discrimination of Christians in favor of secularists.
Stephen Evans of the NSS said “Equality for all before the law must be non-negotiable.”
However, Paul Diamond of the Christian Legal Centre filed the request on behalf senior church leaders after religious activists had already lost several cases of church discrimination.
Diamond also represents Gary McFarlane, who was fired from his job for refusing to give sex therapy to gay couples.
The church is requesting that McFarlane’s case is heard by a specialist panel of five judges with a proven understanding of religious issues. They also requested that the panel is headed by Lord Judge and the Lord Chief Justice.
The Christian Concern For Our Nation (CCFON) website noted that senior churchmen felt the CA judges are biased against them.
Lord Carey and others said that in the long term there is a need to appoint a panel of judges – of all religious faiths – to hear sensitive religious rights cases.
In a separate instance Shirley Chaplin, a nurse, was banned by Devon and Exeter NHS Trust from wearing her crucifix on the job although she had done so without incident for the last 30 years.
Dr. Taj Hargey, chairman of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford said secularism in Britain is “virulent”, and that Britain should be defending Christianity as the faith of the British majority instead of marginalizing it.
Hargey said “As a Muslim, I am filled with despair at the attitude of our politically correct officials towards Christianity” in his article entitled “What Has Britain Come to when it takes a Muslim Like me to Defend Christianity?”
Hargey expressed regret that the core of religious liberty, which was a “…cornerstone for our democratic, respectful and tolerant nation” is slowly ebbing.
Donald MacLeod, principle of the Free Church college in Edinburgh was featured in guardian.uk.com saying “Muslims may wear their burkas, gays their earrings and Sikhs their turbans, but Christians may not wear crucifixes. Marriage is attacked because of presumed links with Christianity, and euthanasia promoted because it is presumed to have none.”
In the same article Mary Warnock said “We need an established church. There are occasions when the cultural traditions and ceremonies of religion are essential, and nothing else will do. Christianity is not just a private but a public matter, woven into our constitution and our shared imaginative life.”