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Former ABC says Christians are being persecuted in Britain

Former ABC says Christians are being persecuted in Britain

The Guardian reports that former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey claims Christians are being persecuted and driven underground in the UK.

Christians are being “persecuted” and “driven underground” while the courts fail to protect their religious values, a former archbishop of Canterbury has claimed.

Lord Carey said Christians were excluded from many sectors of employment because of their beliefs, “vilified by state bodies” and left in fear of arrest for expressing their views.

The former archbishop’s claims are part of a written submission to the European court of human rights, seen by the Daily Telegraph, before a landmark case on religious freedom.

The hearing will deal with the cases of two workers forced out of their jobs after wearing visible crosses, a Relate therapist sacked for saying he was not comfortable giving sex counselling to gay couples, and a Christian registrar who refused to conduct civil partnership ceremonies.

The British Airways worker Nadia Eweida, a Pentecostal Christian, received widespread publicity when she was sent home in 2006 after refusing to remove a necklace with a cross or hide it from sight.

An employment tribunal ruled Eweida had not suffered religious discrimination, but the airline changed its uniform policy after the case to allow all religious symbols, including crosses.

From The Telegraph notes that Carey believes Christians are being “framed” by homosexual activists:

“It is now Christians who are persecuted; often sought out and framed by homosexual activists,” he says. “Christians are driven underground. There appears to be a clear animus to the Christian faith and to Judaeo-Christian values. Clearly the courts of the United Kingdom require guidance.”

He says the human rights campaign has gone too far and become a political agenda.

Keith Porteous-Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said: “The idea that there is any kind of suppression of religion in Britain is ridiculous.

“Even in the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to religious freedom is not absolute – it is not a licence to trample on the rights of others. That seems to be what Lord Carey wants to do.”

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Bill Dilworth

Susan, BA allowed Sikhs and Muslims to stray from uniform guidelines in the interest of personal belief, but forbade a small cross (it's since changed its policy, wisely). I'm with Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission, which said, "[I]t was wrong to conclude that because it was not a religious requirement for Christians to wear a cross all the time individual Christians need not feel a personal obligation to do so.” It was stupid of the company to insist on the strict adherence of its uniform policy. However, it's even stupider to insist that this represents persecution of Christians in any way.

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IT

It would be helpful if people understood the case in question. The company had a policy that no jewelry (necklace) was to be worn on the outside of the uniform. The employee insisted on wearing her cross outside her uniform.

It wasn't because it was a cross per se that there was a problem, it was that there was exposed jewelry. It's the employee that made this about religion. She wanted a dispensation to wear a cross.

--SUsan Forsburg

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Roger Mortimer

In South Carolina a pharmacist already has the right to refuse to dispense contraceptives to an unmarried woman if this "violates his conscience". http://www.free-times.com/index.php?cat=1992912064017974&ShowArticle_ID=11011502123146633

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Bill Dilworth

Tom, the examples sited, even if you think that they are problems (I think the cross prohibitions are ludicrous, personally), they clearly do not rise to the level of "persecution." There *are* Christians who are really being persecuted in the world today, who are faced with personal danger and physical and economic hardship for professing Christ. To have the privileged,, former head of a state Church, who sits in his nation's legislature and whose opinions get considerable press, whine that his community is being persecuted is a scandal.

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Tom Sramek Jr

Before more dispersions are cast on Lord Carey, may I say that not being able to wear a cross (or any mainstream religious symbol, for that matter) or getting in trouble for choosing not to counsel gay couples seems like the left doing precisely what they accuse the right of doing: imposing their religious and/or social values on others. Why shouldn't a Christian be able to openly proclaim his or her faith in a pluralistic society by wearing a cross? Why shouldn't someone who has neither the background nor the interest in doing marriage counseling for gay couples not be able to refuse to do so?

It seems like both sides are in danger of saying "You can believe whatever you want to believe, as long as you either don't act on it, or don't say anything about it." A sort of religious Don't Ask, Don't Tell? Next, clergy won't be able to wear collars in public for fear of offending people's sensibilities...

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