A legal team defending religious rights in Europe is calling for three critical disputes about expression of Christian faith in the United Kingdom to be reviewed by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, because the current precedent lets “amorality” discriminate against religious believers.
As WND reported, in a landmark case, the European Court of Human Rights issue a combined decision against three of four U.K. Christians who suffered discrimination because of their faith.
In one case, a nurse, Shirley Chaplin, was removed from her job over her decision to wear a small crucifix on a chain around her neck. In another, counselor Gary McFarlane was fired for “gross misconduct” when he cited his Christian beliefs and expressed doubts to his superiors about his ability to provide so-called “sex therapy” to homosexual couples. In a third case, Lillian Ladele, a registrar for the London Borough of Islington, was fired for conscientiously refusing to officiate homosexual civil partnership ceremonies.
Layers of bureaucrats in the U.K. affirmed the punishment for the Christians.
Gregor Puppinck, director of the European Center for Law and Justice, which contributed documentation to the cases, said the results are deeply troubling.
“What is [unacceptable] is that [the decisions] found that the dismissal of the employees is proportionate to the need to enforce the employer’s ‘equality and diversity policies’ which [are] aimed at fighting against sexual, racial and religious discrimination,” he wrote. “How can one consider [it] proportionate to dismiss an employee when it would have been easy for the employer to accommodate him?”
Puppinck said Christians, consequently, face a major threat.
“The refusal by the employers to accommodate the applicants is merely an ideological sanction, meaning that, as a question of principle, there is no room in the staff for ‘intolerant Christians.’”
He said the combined ruling effectively endorses “the monopolistic imposition of the postmodern ideology over individual consciences and religious beliefs, whereas the [court] had the opposite possibility to show the way of a really pluralist and respectful approach of diversity.”
The court is giving “a free license to discriminate [against] Christians at work by submitting them to ‘obsessive political correctness,” he said.
The ruling is “a perfect example of the liberticidal trend of liberalism and relativism, where a society based on a consensus of amorality does not tolerate those who continue to have a moral judgment of conscience.”
In an amoral society, Puppinck explained, Christian who opposes abortion could even be considered criminal, while those who support it are thought to be mainstream.
Puppinck said the European court didn’t take into account the difference between conscience and religious.
The cases involving necklaces are freedom of religion disputes, he explained, the right to wear an expression of one’s religion. However, the others are freedom of conscience disputes.
“It is not the same to force someone to abstain from wearing a religious item, and to force someone to act against his conscience, for example forcing someone to celebrate a homosexual union, or any other practice that can be genuinely considered as immoral, such as abortion,” he said.
One case was decided to the benefit of an airline employee who wanted to wear a cross necklace on duty, but Christians lost the other three disputes in the combined decision. It is unknown when the “section” court ruling from the ECHR will be escalated to the Grand Chamber court.
“The ECLJ is deeply concerned … and wishes that those cases would be referred before the Grand Chamber.”
The ECHR said terminations were justified under “equality” legislation despite supposed guarantees of freedom of conscience enshrined in European treaties.
The other plaintiff who lost her case, Chaplin, was barred from her government job in a hospital ward after refusing to remove a confirmation cross that she had worn for some 30 years without incident.