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September 4th, 2012
08:07 AM ET

Christians take discrimination cases to Europe's top court

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Four British Christians urged Europe's top court Tuesday to rule that they faced discrimination because of their religious beliefs.

Two women accuse their employers of refusing to let them wear crosses openly at work.

Alongside them, a woman who declined to register gay civil partnerships and a man who did not want to give sex therapy to same-sex couples say they were unfairly dismissed from their jobs.

Gary McFarlane, the relationship counselor, said he was pleased with the way Tuesday's hearing went.

"Today, for the first time, I heard somebody talking about my rights," he said. "Surely I have some rights. I am a member of society. I have some beliefs."

He called it a "tragedy" that the case had gone all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.

He blamed "overzealous employers" who "would not consider reasonable accommodation" for his religious beliefs.

He never refused to treat a specific couple, raising his religious objections only in the abstract, said Andrea Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting him.

He and the other three Christians are fighting the British government, saying it failed to protect their rights.

The case could help to draw a clear boundary in cases where religious views contradict laws against discrimination. It will have implications across 47 countries on the continent. The court ruling will not be binding in Britain in the way that a Supreme Court ruling would be, but the country is legally obliged to take it into account.

The four - Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin, who wanted to wear crosses; registrar Lilian Ladele; and McFarlane, the relationship counselor - have lost every round of their battles through the British legal system.

They're now making their claims under European human rights law, focusing on guarantees of freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination at work.

Eweida, who works for British Airways, said she experienced discrimination from 2006 to 2007, when she started wearing the cross visibly and was transferred to another job. The airline has since changed its policy on uniforms to allow employees to wear religious or charity symbols.

But Chaplin, a nurse, ultimately lost her job after her employer changed its uniforms to include V-necks, which made her cross visible. Her manager asked her to remove it for fear it could lead to injury when she was working with patients, according to court papers.

She refused.

Both women lost their cases in British employment tribunals.

Eweida's tribunal ruled that wearing a cross was a personal choice, not a requirement of Christianity, while Chaplin's tribunal found there were legitimate health and safety reasons to bar her from wearing the symbol around her neck.

Chaplin said Tuesday that she didn't believe it.

"The council that runs risk assessment said they have no previous cases of injury from crucifixes," she said after the hearing concluded.

Ladele and McFarlane also lost employment tribunal battles, with the tribunals finding that their employers could require them to perform their jobs.

Their employers were entitled to refuse to accommodate religious views that contradicted British laws banning discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, the tribunals found.

All four Christians were denied hearings further up the British legal chain, pushing their cases to the European Court in Strasbourg.

Its rulings normally take months after a case is argued.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Britain • Christianity • Church and state • Europe • Religious liberty

soundoff (1,277 Responses)
  1. Steve Finnell

    EXPLAINING AWAY MARK 16:16

    Faith only believer want Mark 16:16 to just go away. It will not go away, so they try to explain it away. Over 100 translations of the Bible include Mark 16:16, however, that does deter some faith only believers from insinuating or simply stating that Mark 16:16 should not be including in the Bible because it was missing from a couple of manuscripts. If you believe God has a hand in guiding men to translate the Bible correctly, then have to believe Mark 16:16 should be included. If you do not believe the Bible has been translated accurately, then I would suggest that you burn all of your Bibles.

    EXPLAINING AWAY

    Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

    The most popular way of explaining away Mark 16:16 is to say that it does not say, that he who has not been baptized will be condemned, therefore water baptism is not essential to be saved.

    If a secular law were written as such: He who does not commit robbery and does not murder will not go to prison; but he who commits robbery will go to jail. Would that mean you can still murder and not go to jail; because it does not state murderers will go to jail? NOT MURDERING IS ESSENTIAL TO NOT GOING TO JAIL!

    Being baptized is essential to not being condemned.

    There have been many attempts to explain water baptism away from Mark 16:16, including denying that, and, is a conjunction linking belief and baptism. Many attempts at distorting the simple meaning of words and sentence structure are used. Grammatical distortions are used in order to make Mark 16:16 fit the "faith only" narrative.

    HAS BEEN BAPTIZED SHALL BE SAVED, STILL MEANS WATER BAPTISM IS ESSENTIAL FOR SALVATION NO MATTER HOW MEN TRY TO EXPLAIN IT AWAY.

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOWING MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. Google search>>>>steve finnell a christian view

    July 31, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  2. Science

    Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/where-do-morals-come-from/#comments

    Gravity is not up for debate !

    BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet..............................E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas.

    Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142250.htm

    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

    April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

    May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418104324.htm

    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

    Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

    Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

    No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

    Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

    No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

    Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

    Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423134037.htm

    Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/.../page4

    Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...

    Good stuff !

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

    For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

    Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

    Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
    bears his name as the “God particle.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

    Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
    Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

    Science

    Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

    Make sure to read comments

    April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |

    Breaking News

    NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/18/us/planet-discovery/index.html

    NASA: Mars could have supported life

    Star Dust we are

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWdU_px9ApE&w=640&h=390]

    Holy Hallucinations 35

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XTCRdC8Dlo&w=640&h=390]

    The ORIGIN story is bullsh-it...............so is the bible............... nasty !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.

    Human Evolution

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2cHumanevo.shtml

    BBC. Planet of the Apemen. Battle for Earth 1. Ho-mo Erectus

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUliLKSJ4bQ&w=640&h=390]

    BACKFILL on E =mc2.....

    Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'

    By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

    Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

    “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/category/culture-science/

    May 4, 2013 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |

    Cheech & Chong's History of 420

    http://www.funnyordie.com/embed/3b1508d1f0Cheech & Chong's History of 420 from CheechAndChong http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?app_id=138711277798&href=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.funnyordie.com%2Fvideos%2F3b1508d1f0%2Fcheech-chong-s-history-of-420&send=false&layout=button_count&width=150&show_faces=false&action=like&height=21

    All cults...........creationists, ID believers and devil cults.................

    The fact...............the earth is to old ...........time to EVOLVE !.

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

    Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

    Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.

    http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts.htm

    Education works for children

    Earth From Space

    Detailed satellite images reveal the web of connections that sustain life on Earth. Aired February 13, 2013 on PBS

    Program Description

    "Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/earth-from-space.html

    February 16, 2013 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |

    Peace

    May 5, 2013 at 6:23 am |
  3. bananaspy

    I wouldn't want somebody working for me that bases their judgements off of mythical fairy tales either. Especially if I were in a field of science. If your answer to everything is "God did it" then I don't need to ask you any questions, because I already know your answer.

    September 29, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  4. Israel

    Yeah It is True.
    There is NO Allah only JESUS is REAL!!!
    All can call Allah by 5 alphabets: JESUS.

    September 8, 2012 at 7:00 am |
  5. Deadislam

    There is No Allah only JESUS.
    Support for the Christian President at all arabian countries.

    September 7, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • bananaspy

      There is no Jesus, only Krishnu.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  6. tuvia

    ********

    LET MY PEOPLE GO SENETOR HILLIARY CLINTON
    AND PRESIDENT OBAMA. LET JONATHAN POLLARD GO NOW
    LET JONATHAN POLLARD GO NOW.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyBZhTaf1oU&w=640&h=390]

    September 7, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • old ben

      This is bull sh it. Also this Jonathan Pollard is a highly unstable traitor. Keep him where he is.

      September 7, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  7. tracy

    Boo-freaking-hoo. Poor persecuted Christians. All I hear is, "We can't discriminate against people because of our religious beliefs, waaaah".

    September 7, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • jdupree05

      And yet, yall complain when yall don't get your way. It's an ongoing battle that will never end.

      September 7, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Elle

      Yes, because wearing crosses is discriminating. The man, however, should lose. But wearing crosses to work? How is that, if I may ask, discriminating??

      September 26, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  8. Arvoasitis

    The problem is never simply discrimination, which is simply assigning value to a distinction. The problem, if any, is unfair or malicious discrimination; that is, assigning improper value due to ignorance or malice. We wouldn't be able to think at all if we didn't discriminate.

    September 7, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      True. The ability to judge is wrong when it is used to inflict harm or inflict pain. But useful in separating quality work from mediocre.

      September 7, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  9. jack

    They are the victims of their own ignorance!

    September 7, 2012 at 2:03 am |
  10. Willard the Polygamist

    Religion is a mental illness. I'm tired of my life being inconvenienced because some idiots want to believe in ancient middle eastern traditions. I don't want delusional people with invisible friends around me, and I salute anyone that agrees.

    September 7, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Of course there was a time when those who refused to acknowledge belief in God were considered insane and locked away. You sound as if you'd like a return to those days if only you could have the keys.

      September 7, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • yikesboy

      Bill, I don't see any desire on Willard's part to lock anyone up or cause harm. He (quite rightly in my book) wants to surround himself with people free of supernatural delusions. This is a fundamental right and in no way indicates anything like the Spanish Inquisition...

      September 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  11. billdeacons

    How ironic. A Muslim giving an atheist a lesson on liberty, tolerance and freedom/ Maybe it's not ironic. Maybe it is telling.

    September 6, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  12. Fritz Hohenheim

    LOL yesterday they mass murdered witches, today they claim they are the victims. Even if they are, guess what: It's payback time, biaches!!

    September 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • TheMendicantBias

      I'm a Muslim, but !@#$ you if you take happiness in the suffering of another person, regardless of religion.

      I'm glad freedom of religion is protected in the United States (along with many other rights.) LIVE FREE OR DIE!!

      September 6, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.