Comments: Sentamu responds to British Airways case

There needs to be consistency in application. If turbans and veils are allowed so that people can honor their faith, then other religious symbols e.g. the cross are also legitimate. I can remember when souls fought for the right to wear their veils and turbans, and I supported them at the time. Now it is their turn to protect Christians, or else their own victory is jeopardised by this precedent.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 9:48am GMT

Well done archbishop Sentamu for speaking out again so clearly and correctly.
There is a contradiction in BA's position and their statements. Yes BA does have a ban on showing jewellery which perhaps just happens to penalise Christian symbols. It is the employee that has made the claim it is a relgious symbol and wants parity and equal treatment. However BA have responded by refer to the impracticality of headscarves and turbans being concealed. But if the reason is practicality I would say that is complete nonsense as the Jewellery is less impractical than scarves and turbans. There are two different reasons being given here. If the reason is personal expression then so is the turban and headscarf personal expression. if the reason is health and safety, in what way?

Posted by DaveW at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 10:17am GMT

But we are required to bear our Cross, not wear it. She is not required by her faith to have a visible cross. Indeed, her fight to do so could be seen as ostentatious display, and akin to the sin of pride. Is she really doing this to spread the Gospel, or to say something publically about herself? If the former, she can do that without doing something that, to me, seems an awful lot like attention seeking. If the latter, then she needs to learn the Christian virtue of humility. It isn't oppressive to ban jewelry.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 12:45pm GMT

Dear Ford Elms,
I would agree that Christians are not required to wear a cross, but thats not the issue. If it were we wpuld be in a debate as to whether the hijab was a requirement. BA has not suggested their policy is about religious requirments indeed it has said "The policy recognises that it is not practical for some religious symbols — such as turbans and hijabs — to be worn underneath the uniform." So if anything it could be implying that the cross is a religious symbol of equal necessity.
Indeed BA states "This is purely a question of practicality." so if she wore a 3ft cross it would be ok?
As to the sin of pride, and the need for humilty, I wouldnt judge her. But compleletly the opposite, Galatians 6:14 "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ..",
She herself says it is about Jesus Christ his death and resurection. 1 Corinthians 13:4 "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast..."
The question is why is Jewellery to be hidden, for what reason?

Posted by DaveW at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 2:09pm GMT

It seems relatively petty on both sides. She does not have to wear a cross, and it does not carry the same religious and cultural significance as either the turban or the veil. There is no Christian dress code. On the other hand, it is surely no big deal for British Airways to allow relatively simple jewellery.

I carry around some religious objects from time to time, but make a point of them not being seen - if people want to know my religion or religious business, they can find out over time. She's made her point, and the case is now well known with contradictions exposed, and her best strategy is to go back, conceal the object and engage in conversation about it outside of work time. There is no value in martyrdom.

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 3:57pm GMT

I'm afraid we shall all be a laughing-stock with Sentamu's grandiose blunderings.

We all know that wearing a cross is no requirement or even recommendation of Christianity, nor is it a serious cultural issue / commitment for Christians. The turban is rquired by Sikkhism. The yurmulke and circumscission by Judaism. Various forms of 'The veil' is required of Moslem women in various communites, de facto.

Also many 'ordinary' Brits were a cross, or Magen David (Star of David) under blouse of shirt because given as a special gift by parents at age 21, or other milestone in life, and feels like a special blessing. Agreed often not linked to churchy doctrines and posssibly unformualted. It can be hard to tell this form of wearing from 'wearing as jewelry' --if at all. (And I wouldn't wish to). These things are matters of sensibility and not easily given to words and definitions.

I think politicans and churchmen should abstain from 'high profile', polarizing comments and leave it to people, on the ground to talk and think and decide together, But I tend to think a bit of give-n-take wouldnt go amiss.......

Posted by laurence at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 4:08pm GMT

If its not a big issue BA wont mind changing their rules One would normaly expect a uniform to be... well uniform. If some have scarfs and some have turbans, the uniform isnt uniform. If it isnt a big issue to have such exceptions then the visible cross will be fine. I dont see what BA's objection is and why there cant be exceptions for jewellery.

Posted by DaveW at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 5:14pm GMT

I know fearful Christians for whom wearing a cross is a requirement. They believe it protects them from the evil one and get frightened when the chain breaks.

Simlarly, I know of Muslims or Hindus who do not feel a need to wear their veil or turban but do so out of respect.

A society that says that Christian ornaments are not legitimate whilst others are is a society that has become inconsistent.

That will merely exacerbate tensions between the faiths e.g. "Why are you allowed to wear your religious symbols, but not me?" Or gloating that "my religious symbols are more valid than yours".

Sounds petty and petulant, but some souls development is stuck in early childhood. If there is a chance to be petty and petulant, they will jump at it. And bullies love the chance to be able to pick on the marginalised.

The only solution is consistency in application.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 6:12pm GMT

Why would you say the hijab is debatable for Muslims?

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 6:19pm GMT

The issue is not `requirement' but the fact that the cross is one religious symbol amongst many. And on those grounds, BA's policy, however much they might seeke to apply it even-handedly, is bigoted.

Posted by Tim at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 6:21pm GMT

BA may not care about Christian prophets but they do care about making profits from Christians. If enough Christians told them they were taking their business elsewhere, I imagine they would do a rethink.
As a member of the public I couldn't care less what jewelery or headwear an airline staff worker wore (well, maybe not a full face veil, but then again ...), but rather whether the worker was courteous and efficient.
The lady concerned is from a Coptic background in Egypt. She knows at first hand that Christians in the Muslim-dominated world are often ill-treated for wearing a cross.

Posted by Steve Watson. at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 10:53pm GMT

Exactly. And which is why Christians ought to be fighting back, not making any more wishy-washy statements about pluralism.
Christ is our Lord, remember? We all promised to fight for him.

Posted by Ren Aguila at Tuesday, 21 November 2006 at 11:14pm GMT

Pluralist: "There is no Christian dress code."
Ford Elms: "Why would you say the hijab is debatable for Muslims?"

I think the fact of the matter is that these matters are very much ruled by custom and tradition, and vary from place to place.

Until recently, the wearing of hijab by Muslim women of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin was virtually unknown in Britain, and I suspect that this reflects custom in the countries from which their families originated. In France, while some "beurettes" have recently expressed a wish to wear hijab, the Arab women's organization "Ni Putes Ni Soumises" has opposed it as something imposed by men wishing to control women. Nor is it unknown for Francophone Arab actresses to be willing to appear nude on stage and screen - Souad Amidou is perhaps the best known such actress.

As for "no Christian dress code", clothing which would excite no comment in a Roman Catholic church in England will prevent admission even as a tourist to churches of the same denomination in Italy.

Posted by Alan Harrison at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 1:57am GMT

Dear Cheryl Clough,
I think consistency in application is exactly what the issue here is. You wrote “That will merely exacerbate tensions between the faiths”.. on the contrary the faiths are tending to find common ground over this.

Dear Ford Elms,
You asked “Why would you say the hijab is debatable for Muslims?”
I don’t know, why would I?

Posted by DaveW at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 8:31am GMT


If you are reporting from first hand observations that there is being co-operation from and between the faiths on this matter, then that is a victory.

One of the things that has been niggling me over the last few weeks is who wants God taken from the public agenda? Or who wants God reduced and dissected into some simplistic model that denies the complexity and comprehensiveness of both God and Creation? Who is trying to impose simplistic models and demand that the faiths agreed to a watered down version of God?

I rather like the idea of a God that is beyond comprehension, capable of surprising us, interested in how we find God and how we describe God to each other. I think God rather likes being talked about, in both the public and private arena.

Discussions with the secular and other faiths lead us to stumbling across parallels in the bible (it certainly raised my eyebrows when I first noticed Ecclesiastes 7:17-18 "Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool—why die before your time? It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes." It sounded so Buddhist...

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 10:32am GMT

To an extent you are correct. The Qur'an says, I'm paraphrasing, that women should draw their cloaks about themselves, and there is some suggestion that it was directed at the Propeht's family only, but this is not, as afar as I know, widely accepted. This is interpreted as being anything from a head covering to a burka, but nowhere in Islam is it considered optional. From what Muslim friends have told me, girls don't wear the veil. It's pretty much the done thing for women to put it on at puberty in more traditional countries, but it is much more of a decision in other countries. I knew one woman who was the only one in her family to wear the veil, and her parents had a long talk to her before she did, since never to put it on means never having submitted to Allah, to take it off means rejection of your having submitted. The thing is that in more Westernized countries, women may not wear it, but they are then saying they are not committed Muslims, they haven't submitted. It's kind of like some people think of Christian baptism, a public declaration of faith. But if a woman is going to submit to Allah, then my undersanding is that the veil in some form is not optional.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 12:30pm GMT


It is worth looking at history, the kind of veils and how they are worn has varied from nation to nation and even within nations over time. There is a strong affirmation of it in this current period.

I would not challenge it, because it means so much to them.

But there is the biblical warning that wearing clothes (e.g. veils) and public appearances does not mean that God is privately happy with you. Ezekiel 13:18-23 addresses this quite well. The cautions about veils can also apply to other religious adornments, including crosses.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 6:12pm GMT

"The yurmulke and circumscission by Judaism" - thank goodness some religious symbols can be worn beneath the garments!

Posted by Alan Marsh at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 6:15pm GMT

Alan -- see what you mean. --the obverse could be fun too !

Posted by laurence at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 7:46pm GMT

It is a question of time and place. Measure. ;=)

When I was a child 40 years ago, in a rather backwards part of the country where we lived in the summer, the old women were all clad in black - black socks, black skirt, black jumper, black head scarfe.

Most of which was home spun, home knitted and home sewn.

They were Church of Sweden. They had never left home, never been further than the church in the village.

Every summer we counted them - so that no one would have defected from the only right and true, since last year...

The Free church women, on the other hand, wore hats and shop clothes going to and fro work (but were forbidden going to the pictures and a host of other things ;=)

Nowadays, nobody wears hats, all work for pay and wear shop clothes ;=)

And yes, everybody goes to the pictures.

Where I work today in a totally different part of the country, some of the women who are muslim by religion wear head-scarfs, but - one or two converts apart - only going to or fro, not at work.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 22 November 2006 at 8:45pm GMT

Dear Cheryl Clough,
You wrote "Who is trying to impose simplistic models and demand that the faiths agreed to a watered down version of God?"
Faiths have different contradictory understandings of God, how can one not water down the versions to be able to talk about God. If one waters down all the versions one can hardly claim to believe in any of them.
You wrote "..when I first noticed Ecclesiastes 7:17-18" But thats the Bible OT isnt it, some faiths question whether that is corrupted.

Posted by DaveW at Thursday, 23 November 2006 at 8:10am GMT


Some people question whether the NT is corrupted, or at least how it is selectively quoted.

One of my bemusements over the last day has been that I was questioned whether Esau was real. But Eve's reality, even though she is even more mythical, is not questioned?

So we question what might shake our complacency, whilst eagerly affirming that which rubberstamps our prejudices?

We endorse texts and authors that flatter and dismiss but eschew that which might challenge?

That is an an evolutionary dead end - such souls ignore the forces that would change us for the better. They become like the platypus of Australia, an interesting well designed animal destined for extinction simply because it no longer adapts. Such souls can not fulfill biblical prophecy because they cling to prejudices and grudges long after they have become irrelevant.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Thursday, 23 November 2006 at 11:46am GMT

Dear Cheryl Clough,
"Some people question whether the NT is corrupted, or at least how it is selectively quoted." People do and claim all kinds of things Cheryl, but what I had in mind was the Quaran.
If Eve is more mythical than Esau how do you know and the Nt writers not know?
You wrote "We endorse texts and authors that flatter and dismiss but eschew that which might challenge? "
I endorse the NT Cheryl, Anglicans believe the OT and NT are rule and standard of faith.
God Bless

Posted by DaveW at Thursday, 23 November 2006 at 7:50pm GMT

I think BA will have to back down on this one as the is a great deal of opposition to the inconsistent BA rules from all around the world.
Now the bishop of London has commented as well I believe

Posted by DaveW at Thursday, 23 November 2006 at 8:15pm GMT


Then why are some parts of the text challenged and not others?

Why consider my visions? My contributions are not imposed, I am but one voice on the council. The confirmations affirm my right to contribute to the debate, but I do not seek followers or a church of my own. I am of no one group and am therefore for all groups.

See Jesus prophecy Matthew 12:39-45 & Luke 11:29-32

See my personal testimony page, which those in the know hold none of the significant coincidences since early 2006 nor a plethora of minor ones before that. As one Jew commented, what do you do when you set a high jump bar to determine who should be listened to, and then someone clears the bar by so easily that the bar becomes meaningless? E.g. An acronym of Cheryl Valerie (my birth names) is CheVa.

My key affirmation was in October 2005. Two emails were sent to Sojourners in the US. The first was written out of frustration of being suppressed by the local church. After issuing the email on the Monday, I went to work and found out that tropical depression Wilma had formed. (It went from a tropical depression to a Cat 5 in less than 12 hours which was unheard of as they normally take several days or weeks to form; and had the lowest hurricane barometric pressure ever recorded) By the Thursday, Wilma had been sitting over Mexico for three days, and I felt compelled to write the follow up email, which included the comment that I'd recently said to God that if He did not touch Florida Keys, then they will deny the significance of Katrina and all the other works until now.
The content of those two affirmed emails:

If you want more, here is what I have bothered to publish: There is ten times that more unpublished, much cross-corroboratd by correspondence outside of the Anglican communion.

I am but one voice, and I am here for discussion not domination. My enemies are wasteful shepherds who have colluded to stifle discussion and hide the evidence of my existence. To God they will answer.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Friday, 24 November 2006 at 9:19am GMT

The rules aren't inconsistent. The question is : should they retain such a strict rule on jewellery? If they allow crosses, then other small items of jewellery should also be allowed - which is fine by me. I couldn't care less what religion a check-in assistant is as long as they process the bags correctly and clear the queues!

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 24 November 2006 at 10:01am GMT

Dear Merseymike,
Well I still beg to differ, the rules are inconsistent. You wrote “If they allow crosses, then other small items of jewellery should also be allowed” Well if they only allow hijab and turban because its too big to hide a Christian could wear a big cross that is too big to hide, but they cant because all jewellery must be hidden…so the rules are inconsistent.
Neither do I expect a check-in assistant to have to be Christian so I don’t see what that has to do with it.

Posted by DaveW at Friday, 24 November 2006 at 12:22pm GMT

Dear Cheryl Clough,
You ask “Then why are some parts of the text challenged and not others? “
Well I don’t think they are challenged by believers Cheryl. The Anglican Communion states that the OT and NT is rule and standard of faith.

Posted by DaveW at Friday, 24 November 2006 at 12:30pm GMT

Hijab or turban are not jewellery - but this is such a storm in a teacup. personally, I don't care what religion this woman is as long as she keeps her mouth shut about it when checking in my bags...

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 24 November 2006 at 10:57pm GMT

Dear Merseymike,
I repeat, the Hijab and turban are not jewellery, they are religious garments too impractical to hide. The cross in this case is jewellery not too impractical to hide. But the main thing is that bishops and most Christians have understood the inconsistency and now so have BA.

Posted by DaveW at Sunday, 26 November 2006 at 12:32pm GMT


"they aren't challenged by believers"

No there is group think going on.

Part of that group think is that if anyone challenges, then then are not believers of Jesus nor saved by grace of God. The group think says that we are right because we affirm we are right and we have been affirming we are right for centuries and so therefore we are right.

Pity that the planet itself can't cope with the group think paradigms. E.g. irresponsible desire of children for religious dominance, AIDS, ecological collapse, end of the oil age, terrorism, institutionalised poverty, corrupt power brokers, sychophantic priestly castes.

We are heading into a really frightening period in history (to paraphrase Yoda from Star Wars - "if you aren't frightened yet, you should be"). The whole planets citizens (secular and religious, of all nations tribes and genders) are going to need a moral rudder to help them not panic and survive the coming period with the least amount of trauma.

We need strong leaders who can mitigate military and rulers from acting out fear by trying to create false security. We need strong leaders who can give people hope and encourage innovation, responsibility at the local level. We need to imbue and understanding of fractals, and that what we do locally ripples into a global pattern. E.g doing the math on landfill: multiply the rubbish output from our own home. We need souls to understand collective responsbility and individual rights , and the interdependency and symbiosis between the two.

Such kind of leaders will understand that group think is humanity's worst enemy right now. It made us blind to the hole in the ozone layer for 10 years, kept us in denial about climate change, and still encourages governments to only think of solutions that will either improve their likelihood of being reelected or stop things blowing up in their face while they are in office. (Often irresponsbily leaving the mess for the next government to fix).

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Sunday, 26 November 2006 at 5:03pm GMT

I have been evanglised times without number ! I love hearing of people's lives and inner journeys. I have a particular soft spot for JWs -they seem so thoughtful, and give up so much time and effort (why is it always raining?). However, I find those lovely eager Mormon missionaries most engaging -- somehow! (They are always 'Elder this' and 'Elder that')

'Preach the gospel wherever you go -- if necessary use words'.

This is my philosphy these days. Wish I could really live up to it. But I know my words wouldn't add much!....(Howeever I did testify through a megaphone in my teens ).

Doesn't this quote come from S. Francis ?

I thought Andrew Lindzey's new Academy for Animal Ethics announced on radio 4, with interview, at some ungodly hour this morning very encouraging. And I see it felt like an evangel to me.

How courageous & indefatigable he must be.

Posted by laurence at Sunday, 26 November 2006 at 6:33pm GMT

Firstly, I would like to refer readers to Romans 13, which talks about obeying rules. Surely, this woman should obey the rules that have been laid out by BA, is not, then she is rebelling against God.

Secondly, I am assuming her cross is made of silver, or something like that. Correct me if i am wrong, but do you not get the impression from the bible that we do not need material goods, I refer the reader to 1 Timothy 6:7-8. Would not Jesus have wanted to her to sell her necklace and give the money to the poor, she clearly has plenty of money if she can afford to spend it on items of jewellery, Matthew 19:24, if the reader is interested.

Thirdly, When Jesus returns to the earth, do you think that he will want to see another cross again, especially around the necks of his followers.

Galatians 6:14 "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ..", yes this is from the bible, but simply, i believe it tells Chrisitans that they may boast in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

I myself am a Christian, yet i find this behaviour not very Christ like. I believe it was Gandhi who said "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike you Christ".

I suggest that the Church takes note of this and instead of saying what they think they should, surely they should go bak to the Bible and see what God would want them to say. I am not meaning to criticise the Church, although it may seem like it, I am trying to bring them back to the Bible

Posted by Ben at Tuesday, 28 November 2006 at 9:10pm GMT
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