UK: Un nou atac impotriva crestinismului (actualizat)

Am citit azi un articol aparut pe situl The Telegraph. Mi-am dat si eu cu parerea intr-o suita de emailuri adresate prietenei mele, pe care le-am transcris la capatul articolului citat mai jos.

The Government has refused to say that Christians have a right to display the symbol of their faith at work Photo: PA
By David Barrett , Home Affairs Correspondent
9:00PM GMT 10 Mar 2012
In a highly significant move, ministers will fight a case at the European Court of Human Rights in which two British women will seek to establish their right to display the cross.
It is the first time that the Government has been forced to state whether it backs the right of Christians to wear the symbol at work.
A document seen by The Sunday Telegraph discloses that ministers will argue that because it is not a “requirement” of the Christian faith, employers can ban the wearing of the cross and sack workers who insist on doing so.
The Government’s position received an angry response last night from prominent figures including Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.
He accused ministers and the courts of “dictating” to Christians and said it was another example of Christianity becoming sidelined in official life.
The Government’s refusal to say that Christians have a right to display the symbol of their faith at work emerged after its plans to legalise same-sex marriages were attacked by the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Britain.
A poll commissioned by The Sunday Telegraph shows that the country is split on the issue.
Overall, 45 per cent of voters support moves to allow gay marriage, with 36 per cent against, while 19 per cent say they do not know.
However, the Prime Minister is out of step with his own party.
Exactly half of Conservative voters oppose same-sex marriage in principle and only 35 per cent back it.
There is no public appetite to change the law urgently, with more than three quarters of people polled saying it was wrong to fast-track the plan before 2015 and only 14 per cent saying it was right.
The Strasbourg case hinges on whether human rights laws protect the right to wear a cross or crucifix at work under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
It states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, 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.”
The Christian women bringing the case, Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin, claim that they were discriminated against when their employers barred them from wearing the symbols.
They want the European Court to rule that this breached their human right to manifest their religion.
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.
Lawyers for the two women claim that the Government is setting the bar too high and that “manifesting” religion includes doing things that are not a “requirement of the faith”, and that they are therefore protected by human rights.
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.
Last year it emerged that Mrs Eweida, a British Airways worker, and Mrs Chaplin, a nurse, had taken their fight to the European Court in Strasbourg after both faced disciplinary action for wearing a cross at work.
Mrs Eweida’s case dates from 2006 when she was suspended for refusing to take off the cross which her employers claimed breached BA’s uniform code.
The 61 year-old, from Twickenham, is a Coptic Christian who argued that BA allowed members of other faiths to wear religious garments and symbols.
BA later changed its uniform policy but Mrs Eweida lost her challenge against an earlier employment tribunal decision at the Court of Appeal and in May 2010 was refused permission to go to the Supreme Court.
Mrs Chaplin, 56, from Exeter, was barred from working on wards by Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust after she refused to hide the cross she wore on a necklace chain, ending 31 years of nursing.
The Government claims the two women’s application to the Strasbourg court is “manifestly ill-founded”.
Its response states: “The Government submit that… the applicants’ wearing of a visible cross or crucifix was not a manifestation of their religion or belief within the meaning of Article 9, and…the restriction on the applicants’ wearing of a visible cross or crucifix was not an ‘interference’ with their rights protected by Article 9.”
The response, prepared by the Foreign Office, adds: “In neither case is there any suggestion that the wearing of a visible cross or crucifix was a generally recognised form of practising the Christian faith, still less one that is regarded (including by the applicants themselves) as a requirement of the faith.”
The Government has also set out its intention to oppose cases brought by two other Christians, including a former registrar who objected to conducting civil partnership ceremonies for homosexual couples.
Lillian Ladele, who worked as a registrar for Islington council in north London for 17 years, said she was forced to resign in 2007 after being disciplined, and claimed she had been harassed over her beliefs.
Gary McFarlane, a relationship counsellor, was sacked by Relate for refusing to give sex therapy to homosexual couples.
Christian groups described the Government’s stance as “extraordinary”.
Lord Carey said: “The reasoning is based on a wholly inappropriate judgment of matters of theology and worship about which they can claim no expertise.
“The irony is that when governments and courts dictate to Christians that the cross is a matter of insignificance, it becomes an even more important symbol and expression of our faith.”
The Strasbourg cases brought by Mrs Chaplin and Mr McFarlane are supported by the Christian Legal Centre which has instructed Paul Diamond, a leading human rights barrister.
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.
Andrea Williams, the director of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “It is extraordinary that a Conservative government should argue that the wearing of a cross is not a generally recognised practice of the Christian faith.
“In recent months the courts have refused to recognise the wearing of a cross, belief in marriage between a man and a woman and Sundays as a day of worship as ‘core’ expressions of the Christian faith.
“What next? Will our courts overrule the Ten Commandments?”
Growing anger among Christians will be highlighted today by Delia Smith, the television chef and practising Roman Catholic, who will issue a Lent appeal on behalf the Church’s charity, Cafod, accusing “militant neo-atheists and devout secularists” of “busting a gut to drive us off the radar and try to convince us that we hardly exist”.
ICM Research interviewed an online sample of 2,001 adults between March 7 and March 9. Interviews were conducted across the country and results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. A se citi in original aici

Imi place asta:

“Overall, 45 per cent of voters support moves to allow gay marriage, with 36 per cent against, while 19 per cent say they do not know.”

Adica cei 19% care nu stiu sunt impotriva? Sceptiscismul inseamna aprobare? Me not like it!

Art 9 al ECHR:

2. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Ce tare – for the protection of morals! Cum se poate argumenta moralitatea si imoralitatea in spatiul public?

cazul Kokkinakis v. Greece e de rasul lumii:

“If they had told me they were Jehovah’s Witnesses, I would not have let them in. I don’t recall whether they spoke to me about the Kingdom of Heaven. They stayed in the house about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour. What they told me was religious in nature, but I don’t know why they told it to me. I could not know at the outset what the purpose of their visit was. They may have said something to me at the time with a view to undermining my religious beliefs… [However,] the discussion did not influence my beliefs. Mrs Kyriakaki’s husband, who was the cantor at a local Orthodox church, informed the police and Mr. Kokkinakis was convicted for proselytism.”

Iti dai seama ce bucuros se trezeste domnul cantor de dimineata cu credinta pe care doi oameni o pot “influenta”. Iar sa ceri arestarea celor care ar putea sa-ti “mineze” convingerile religioase spune mult despre relatia ta cu Dumnezeu. Haha, ce gluma. Eu ii dadeam pe domnul cantor si pe sotia lui draga pe mana unei scoli biblice sa invete ce e “aia” credinta si cu ce se mananca. Vai, grecii astia, ce rusine, cu ortovaxia lor…

“Judge Pettiti submitted a partly concurring opinion, considering that the criminal legislation in Greece on proselytism was in itself contrary to Article 9.” Dar bine-nteles! Ortovaxia militanta! Ma intreb daca au schimbat legislatia. M-as mira…

The Christian women bringing the case, Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin, claim that they were discriminated against when their employers barred them from wearing the symbols.

They want the European Court to rule that this breached their human right to manifest their religion.

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.

Pai daca nu e un “requirement of the faith”, atunci de ce sa introduci acest element in legislatie? Daca presupui ca purtatul crucii nu este o expresie religioasa, atunci de ce sa faci o distinctie intre purtatul unei cruci si a unui pandantiv ori bratara oarecare? De altfel, un cititor al ziarului a facut urmatorul comentariu:

I am an employer and I do not stop my employees from wearing crosses around there necks. I find it no less silly than wearing rotating bow ties.

Ce contradictie rusinoasa! Sustin acum ce sustin dintotdeauna: Aceste masuri nu sunt in sprijinul unei viziuni democratice ori a unei dorinte de reconciliere confesionala intr-o Europa plurireligioasa – ci pur si simplu a unei ure istorice pentru crestinism, fara temei rational dar care vrea sa se ascunda in spatele unor judecati logice. Singura logica este “ura de Dumnezeu” iar societatea si lumea in care traim nu o inventeaza, ea fiind dintotdeauna prezenta si muscatoare(VT)

Boris Johnson, primarul Londrei, publica in cursul zilei in acelasi ziar. Am ingrosat pasajele care mi s-au parut foarte graitoare:

If I were Nadia Eweida, I would be starting to think that the whole world had gone completely mad. You remember Nadia, the mild-looking BA worker who found herself suspended because she wore a tiny little cross round her neck for work. Everyone took her side, back in 2006. The entire British press was convulsed with indignation. There were debates in the House of Commons.
The prime minister of the day, Tony Blair, weighed in with all the preachy solemnity he could muster, and advised British Airways to think again. Come off it, we all said: you can’t stop people wearing a necklace with a cross around it. For goodness’ sake — we still have a House of Commons that kicks off daily proceedings with a series of Christian prayers. We have a judicial system that invites witnesses to swear on the Bible, and the same ritual can be observed taking place in the Leveson inquiry.
The entire British landscape is testament to Christian history, from the crosses in cemeteries to the churches that still dominate our villages. The last time I looked, British Airways still had a livery based on the Union flag — and it seemed the height of hypocrisy to indicate a socking great cross on the tailfin of every plane, but to forbid a teensy little crucifix around the neck of an employee.
Such was the general pop-eyed outcry that BA eventually caved in. After about a year of dither, it changed the rules so as to allow all members of staff to wear a discreet religious symbol. So I bet you were as stunned as I was to learn yesterday that the case is not over — and that the Government appears to be backing BA’s original decision.
Poor Mrs Eweida was effectively dismissed and humiliated for wearing a cross round her neck; and yet BA never accepted that its rules were discriminatory, or that she was in any way disadvantaged because of her faith.

As it happens, I met the good lady, by chance, on a crowded train in south-west London. I had a long conversation with my constituent, and I can confirm that she is neither a religious nutter nor driven by vindictiveness. She just wants the airline to accept that it was unfair and wrong, and the irony is that she has now been driven to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. And the further irony is that the British Government — a British Government whose individual members, if asked, would almost certainly agree that BA was loony in its decision — is now apparently backing that decision and opposing Mrs Eweida.
Ministers will argue, in Strasbourg, that BA was perfectly within its rights to kick her out of the workplace, because there is nothing in the “rules” of Christian observance that says you have to wear a cross. They will argue that wearing a cross is “optional”, and therefore unlike wearing other items of apparel (headgear, bracelets, etc) that other religions demand of their adherents and which are therefore permissible for BA staff.
I don’t know the process by which government lawyers have decided this is the right way to go, but someone needs to march into their room, grab them by the lapels, and tell them not to be such confounded idiots. They appear to be following the 2010 Court of Appeal ruling of Lord Justice Stephen Sedley, who threw out Mrs Eweida’s case for discrimination and accused her of having a “sectarian agenda”.
Sedley is a very clever man, and a distinguished jurist, but I don’t think he would object if I called him the most Left-wing judge of the past 50 years. You should read his judgment, as a perfect example of how a brilliant mind, in the grip of strong ideological prejudice, can depart completely from common sense.
His first point, as I say, is that Christianity does not demand that its followers wear crosses — in the way that, say, Sikhism demands turbans — and that Mrs Eweida was therefore not discriminated against, and suffered no disadvantage, simply for being a Christian. Sedley makes much of this distinction between “optional” and “compulsory” bits of religious clothing or apparel, and you can see why it might be convenient for employers like BA.
Mrs Eweida might argue that her deep personal convictions drive her to wear a cross; and another female employee might argue that her deep personal convictions drive her to wear a burka. How could BA forbid one but not the other? What if a member of cabin crew turned up insisting (as many Britons do) that she believed in the Jedi order, and that her personal convictions demanded that she dress as Princess Leia? This objection may sound logical enough; and yet it flies in the face of common sense. There is surely a world of difference between discarding a uniform, in favour of a burka or a Princess Leia outfit, and wearing a small cross on a virtually invisible chain.
The airline was neither reasonable nor proportionate in its first response — as was shown by its subsequent capitulation — and the Appeal Court could have recognised that.
Sedley’s second point is that no other Christians, in BA’s entire 30,000 staff, protested in the same way, or insisted on wearing a cross, and that there was therefore no evidence that Christians were disadvantaged as a group. That may or may not be true. But if it is true that Mrs Eweida was on her own in wanting to wear a crucifix, then that surely shows she was not the thin end of the wedge, and that allowing her to wear a cross would have been a reasonable and harmless indulgence, rather than a general invitation to others to break the rules on uniform.
Mrs Eweida is a member of a group — Christians — and she wanted to express her membership of that group in a small and inoffensive way. She was suspended and sent home. She was told she could not have contact with the public. She was discriminated against. She did suffer disadvantage. It is plain as a pikestaff. Government lawyers should run up the white flag now. Never mind Strasbourg: it is time for some common sense.

“They appear to be following the 2010 Court of Appeal ruling of Lord Justice Stephen Sedley, who threw out Mrs Eweida’s case for discrimination and accused her of having a “sectarian agenda” “

Da, da, dar sa nu uitam ca tatal onorabilului judecator a fost un comunist pe toata perioada vietii.” La ce sa ne asteptam de la aschia trunchiului? “Depart completely from common sense” e cam putin spus, Boris!

Ah, iar treaba cu princess Leia outfit si credinta Jedi nu e departe de adevar. In nomenclatorul britanic al religiilor si credintelor religioase, veti fi surprinsi sa gasiti religia “Jedi”, dovada ca un grup suficient de zgomotos a facut presiuni pentru a fi recunoscut oficial. Dar deja intram in science fiction.

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