Comments: Who is at cross purposes?

It's a long time since I read the papers on this so I am hoping others here are more up-to-date, but is my recollection correct that the BA staffer refused the compromise of wearing her cross as a pin?

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 13 March 2012 at 8:26am GMT

No. That was the other case, of Shirley Chaplin, the nurse. She was offered the alternative of wearing an alternative item, but IIRC she declined this. I will try to find the time to link to some back history on this later in the day.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 13 March 2012 at 9:45am GMT

I must say I am strongly against the wearing of crosses in secular employment. If for some inexplicable reason you believe God will let you into heaven because you wear a cross then OK, if that's what you believe. If however you are working in an airline or hospital or a factory with moving parts and you're wearing a cross to 'show off your religion' this is just simply not on. (It is of course permissible to wear a cross in your own time or to wear it under your work clothes). Honestly where is this madness going to end?

Religious folks ramming religion down other folk's throats at every opportunity is not good evangelism - neither is dragging your employer through the courts.

Anyway I was brought up to believe that cross wearing was a form of idolatry and crosses were not even permitted in worship for that reason [I no longer think this way] so I may not be the right person to comment.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Tuesday, 13 March 2012 at 10:41pm GMT

I have added a couple of links in reponse to the above. It does appear that Shirley Chaplin was offered some alternatives but none were acceptable to her.

In the BA/Eweida case, BA did change its policy in 2007, as explained in the Statement of Facts.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 10:29am GMT

Craig, saying that wearing a small cross at work is somehow "ramming religion down other folk's throats" seems a bit of a stretch, quite honestly. We're not talking about something that spans the distance between collar and waist, are we? The idea that religion is something unmentionable or out of bounds in public strikes me as distinctly odd. Pigeonholing your life so strictly like that can't be healthy.

(On the other hand, I've been quite down about the US lately, and your comment made me briefly pleased with my country, where we have laws that protect the reasonable accommodation of religion in the workplace; I guess we're not all bad, after all.)

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 6:25pm GMT

I think that some of the thinking of wearing the cross is the insistence of making known your religion to others in situations where this may not be appropriate and that is why some employers limit the wearing of jewellery or statements of identity (like mine for example). Of course in many situations people can do what they want to but in others there are reasons why visibly wearing a cross is simply not appropriate. I think that even without a visible cross Christians manage to appropriately make known their religion to co-workers and service users, possibly more effectively than enacting a version of the culture wars in their place of work.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 8:54pm GMT

Bill Dilworth:

But even here in the States, hospitals have been known to (and courts have upheld) ban necklaces for certain categories of employees as safety/health hazards--whether those necklaces are crosses, stars of David, or peace signs.

And companies like airlines have also been found to be within their rights to require employees in uniform to keep "personal statements"--such as religious symbols--out of sight.

Surely the airline attendant in question could have worn her cross necklace UNDER her uniform? If that was not acceptable to her, it would appear her issue was not with wearing the emblem, but with displaying it.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 9:16pm GMT
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