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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. Phartus

    What I can’t figure out is the relationship between the various gods. Are God and Allah brothers, cousins or what? How about Zeus, Jupiter, Horus, Ra? Are they grandparents, uncles or are they simply no longer recognised because of something heinous they have done? Perhaps, religion should be treated as something personal rather than being publicly displayed. There should be a complete separation of religion and government.

    September 4, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  2. Hindu

    It is smarter to believe in God than not. Lets see - at the time of death if you find out there is not God, Heaven or Hell, you lost nothing because human life on earthly plane is temporary by its nature and would be lost regardless. On the other hand, if you find out there is God, Heaven and Hell, then you gained eternal life. So no loss, only possibility of gain. So if you are not sure if there is God or not, it is better to err on side of accepting God. You cannot lose that way. Only gain!

    September 4, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      ah yes, the cowards gambit. of course, you must believe in all gods equally to hedge your bets.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin™

      What poor mousetrap you have set...

      September 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Hindu

      There is only one God - who takes on many forms, incarnations and names. So just the God that you worship in your religion. No need to run after many gods.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How many times do you need to be told that Pascal's Wager is a logical fallacy, Hindu?

      September 4, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You hold the presupposition that one can will oneself to "believe" in a god, Hindu. That simply isn't the case. Can you force yourself to believe that there are leprechauns? Why not?

      It's no different.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Jake

      Hindu, if you have the ability to decide what you believe, you must have a pretty week mind. Intelligent people can't choose to believe anything, they believe what evidence leads their mind to conclude. The only "choice" is to live in denial if you truly believe something else.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      What kind of p.rick still uses Pascal's Wager as an argument? If there is a god, I think he'd prefer us to be sincere in our disbelief.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      hindu – there is no rational reason to believe that there is only one god. if there are any, there is an equal possiblity that there are a myriad of deities.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Hindu

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son -

      No one can force anyone to believe including himself - but I had to point out the zero loss / all gain. it is to inspire those who have intelligence to begin their research into God and then decide to believe or not.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      hindu – the only legitimate research into any god is called anthropology.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Hindu

      @sn0wb0arder – by definition God means Supreme Being – one without equal or superior. So by definition, there cannot be many "gods". God means One.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Really? No one can force another to believe? You seemed to be arguing exactly the opposite earlier.

      Regardless, Hindu, you haven't a clue what Pascal's Wager is, and are therefore not a worthy opponent.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      hindu – "god means one"

      that is patently false. you simply espouse a monotheistic religion.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Hindu

      @Rational Libertarian - the whole point is to use logic to attract people into starting somewhere. once you start with showing a little sincere belief, God will ultimately attract you into full belief - He being all-attractive ...

      September 4, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Jake

      Hindu, I'll take it as a complement that you still haven't disputed any of my comments pointing out the many holes in your logic.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you come to this conclusion based on what, Hindu? Gut feeling? I started out as a believer and faithfully attended church. Gradually, I began to see that I simply had no faith that there existed any omnipotent being; it simply no longer made any sense.

      You make an awful lot of as sumptions about others you don't know.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Hindu

      @sn0wb0arder - all religions are monotheistic including Hinduism. The biggest myth out there in the west is that Hinduism is somehow polytheistic. There is only one God - known as Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan realized in three stages. The so-called 33 million demi-gods are appointed to manage the various affairs of the material creation - such as surya (for sun), chandra (for moon), indra (for rain) etc. Compare the material universe to a corproration - you need different VPs and directors to run the company - for that CEO delegates various powers to different officers - but they are not independent in exercise of their power, the power having been delegated by a higher power in a hierarchical structure of controllers. They are not gods, they are called demi-gods (or devatas in sanskrit). The One Supreme God - Bhagavan - has no controller but He controls everyone else. He is the Supreme Controller (parameshvara).

      September 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Jake

      Tom, Tom, they don't make assumptions – that's something we do in science when we don't have enough information to know and have to make a best guess to move on. They just make claims, even when they do have enough information to know they're wrong!

      September 4, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      hindu – how is it that you deny that there have been polytheistic religions? unbelievable.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Hindu

      @sn0wb0arder - religions have been misunderstood to be polytheistic (e.g. hinduism) by researchers but they are actually not. The Supreme is always One without a second (Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan - three progressive stages of realizing the Supreme in Hinduism).

      September 4, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Jake

      Hindu, you're on the right track. Take away one more god and you'll finally get it right!

      September 4, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • TR6

      @Hindu: "There is only one God – who takes on many forms, incarnations and names. "

      So it doesn't matter what god I worship just as long as I worship one. Might be time to convert I'm certain I can find some religion out there who's theology encourages my particular vices and I still get to go to heaven (if there is one). Rastafarians come to mind, great music and wonderful chemical sacraments

      September 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Hindu

      @TR6 - as long as they are bonafide and authorized. kinda like a hospital wont accept a medical degree from any school but only from accredited, certified and bonafide medical schools. would you let a surgeon with a degree from an unaccredited school operate on your heart?

      September 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      not true Hindu i'm a polytheist i believe in all gods,.. just some not what they say

      September 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • old ben

      I'm not completely against that, Sam. I'm hoping the god of freddie mac & fannie mae is doing better, by the way.

      September 4, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • John

      Everybody...it's futile and completely non-productive to argue with someone who is mentally unstable as this Hindu fellow. You are wasting your time to try and reason with someone who suffers from a delusion. You should just ignore these type posters. Even they have equal access to the Internet.

      September 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  3. This is what god means, not the creator

    G eneration (Birth)
    O pperation (growth)
    D issolution (death)

    September 4, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Uh, "opperation"

      It's really, really hard to take you people seriously.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Hindu

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son -

      How bright of you to pick on a typo spelling mistake! That must make all the content of his post invalid, right?

      September 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It certainly doesn't do much for his credibility, Hindu. Neither does the fact that YOU'RE defending him.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I am honored to present this month's LOCRTC (Library of Congress "Reduce the Carelessness") award to the enti'ty "Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son" for its diligent work toward the reduction of the spelling and grammatical errors that are so prevalent within the many topics of discussion available on this website. Congratulations, "Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son"!.

      September 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  4. PDXSerric

    I'm torn on this issue. If these were business owners, they can make up whatever rules they wish as long as it doesn't violate the 14th Amendment. If they are employees, they have to adhere to the same codes of conduct as every employee, regardless of their beliefs. In the case of the nurse, patient safety is paramount – nurses aren't allowed to wear ANY dangling jewelry for that very reason.

    There's no discrimination here. Just stupidity.

    September 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin™

      14th Amendment?! Hahahaha.. U obviously can't read well...hahaha

      September 4, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  5. Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

    Why would a Christian want to advertise the meanness if their god, by wearing a cross ?
    If god is such a a jerk, that he required human sacrifice, before he would/could just say, "I forgive you", I don't think I would want to advertise my gods eons long pis'sed-offness.

    September 4, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • A little more information needed

      @ Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      The Christian God did NOT require human sacrifice. He required a blood sacrifice–generally a lamb. Basically, the story goes that God realized that there was too much sin and humans needed a permanent blood sacrifice. So, he sent his son, not a human, a god, to be sacrificed. Because his son was not mortal, the sacrifice is everlasting. Therefore, no more sacrifices are required. Christians where the cross to remember the sacrifice that God made for them by sending his son to be their permanent sacrifice.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Jake

      Right, but there's no evidence that any of that is true "A little more information...", so why would you believe it anymore than you'd believe in ancient myths, equally unproven?

      September 4, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  6. mooglestiltzkin

    Why couldn't the nurse wear a wooden cross ? That would be safe around stuff like MRI scan machine wouldn't it ?

    September 4, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • OTOH

      She could take a tip from the Mormons and just embroider a cross (or as many as she wants) on her undies. Real easy.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  7. Jake

    Romans, you continue to ignore the holes that have been poked in your position. Try addressing the problems posed to you rather than repeating yourself. Please answer this: Do you "know" that I won't be eaten by a T-Rex tomorrow or are you agnostic about that possibility? If you "know", do you consider that faith or an evidence / logic based conclusion?

    September 4, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  8. kiwilogic

    trust some christians to claim discrimination for being told they cant discriminate. and the crosses? well bill hicks said it best...'do you think if jesus came back he'd want to see everyone wearing crosses? it would be like walking up to jackie onassis with a rifle lapel on and saying just think of john , how we love him.'

    September 4, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin™

      Commo check

      September 4, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • A little more information needed

      I do think it is discrimination to not allow the Christians to wear crosses if other religions are permitted to wear symbols of their faith. That is obvious. As for having to provide services for something you religiously disagree with, that is a different issue. If it's your job, you should do it.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  9. sn0wb0arder

    one thing is certain, with the innumerable deities, religions and doctrines today and throughout history.

    man is very adept at inventing god.

    September 4, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  10. Agnostic Atheism is Healthy for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    Let your kids be all that they can be. Just teach them that there are:

    1. Things we know that are unfounded and most likely political sales literature from the beginning of mankind (all religions); and
    2. Things that we don't know a damn thing about (god/deities).

    An agnostic approach regarding deities keeps us honest about what we don't know anything about, but also prevents unfounded junk from #2 above (religion) from dirtying up our rational thinking on the matter.

    So instead of praying to make-believe characters and trying to get others to follow the political garbage from long ago, just sit down, put on some good jazz, and collect you damn thoughts. My goodness.

    I am mama kindless and I approve this message.

    September 4, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  11. Sounds like nurse Ratchett

    Supervisor...Shirley, you know it is against, policy to wear jewellery while on duty, please take it off.
    Nurse...No, it is a symbol of my religion, I want to wear it.
    Super...Take it off or I will have to report you.
    Nurse...No, I refuse
    Super...Just put it in your pocket untill your shift is over, OK.
    Nurse..No, I"d rather be fired.
    Super...OK, fine.
    That is one dumb woman, time to find a catholic hospital, I guess.

    September 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  12. Romans

    Since both theists and atheists do not have any concrete evidence on the existence or non-existence of God, it is logical to conclude that both are truly agnostic, and thus are in the dark, making educated guesses.

    Therefore it is rational to conclude that since both cannot possibly know conclusively that God does or does not exist, then both sides are reduced to a belief. The theist believes that God exists, and the atheist does not believe in any God's.

    Since both are based in belief without evidence, they are both faith based positions. Atheists are then not in fact "atheists," but instead are truly agnostic. To be a pronounced atheist is then, conclusively, taking a position on the subject, and asserting a belief.

    September 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Amniculi

      This argument is truly idiotic. Not believing in God is the same as not believing in unicorns. Neither exist, end of story.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Jake

      By that logic, we are all agnostic about literally everything. We don't 100% know anything. Things could actually be as in the movie The Matrix, for example. You might not even exist.

      But luckily, we can be pretty darn sure about things rather than just putting our arms up and saying we have no clue. We can be pretty darn sure there is no spiritual being that created and runs the universe. We can be sure enough to say we think we "know" that can't be true, even though technically, no one knows anything with 100% certainty.

      And since atheists have evidence and logic on their side, it is offensive to suggest that religious claims of "knowing" there IS a god are equally legitimate. It would be reasonable to say that all religious people are much closer to being agnostic than atheists since there is no evidence behind their view and if they are intelligent, they must have doubts. As an atheist, I admit there is an infitesimal chance that there is a god, but that's about as likely as me getting eaten by a live T-Rex tomorrow. I can say with equal confidence that I know there is no god and I know I won't be eaten by a T-Rex tomorrow.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Romans

      And you're truly idiotic (or maybe just ignorant) if you don't understand simple, rational, logic. Maybe you can offer a rebuttal, my guess is you'd rather name call.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Romans

      Really Jake? You have evidence that God doesn't exist. See that's the point. You are agnostic BECAUSE you have no evidence of God either way. Since you are not omniscient, you can never know. Therefore saying you are an atheist is a statement of position. You want to portray atheism as some position of neutrality, but the truth is as an atheist, you are taking a position. That position is one that you can never possibly defend or prove with knowledge. This makes your position a faith based belief.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • sam

      Romans, your logic is shaky at best and worse, has nothing to do with the article.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Amniculi

      You will notice that I said the argument was idiotic (and not at all logical). You, sir, are the one who resorted to name calling.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Romans

      Sam, your comment also has nothing to do with the article.... get over it.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Romans

      Now you're arguing semantics....aw you're cute. Still waiting for a rebuttal. Guess I'm not going to get it.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Atheists did not forward the theory of the existence of God, therefore the burden of proof does not fall on the side of atheism. You don't ask someone who doesn't believe in unicorns to provide proof of non-existence. God is no different. All things being equal, the simplest answer is usually correct. There has never been any evidence supporting the existence of God, therefore there is no God.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Plucky

      Romans,
      I think Jake's rebuttal alone pretty much destroyed your points. Can you rebut his rebuttal?

      September 4, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • sam

      I realize you're simply baiting so you can then cry about getting a hostile response, but please. At least give it a better try than this. You're just embarassing yourself, whether trolling or not.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • sam

      @Plucky – that would assume that Romans understands how this all works, which is too much to hope for.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Jake

      Uh, Romans, it's impossible to prove that anything doesn't exist. That doesn't mean it's reasonable to be agnostic about the T-Rex that might eat me tomorrow. Tell me, are you really agnostic about the possibility of me getting eaten by a T-Rex tomorrow? I suspect you're legitimately atheist on that subject. If so, your position has nothing to do with "faith", it has to do with evidence and logical thought – you have never seen a live T-Rex on this planet, have never heard of any substantiated reports of a live T-Rex and therefore, you feel comfortable in saying you know I won't be eaten by a live T-Rex tomorrow.

      Seriously Romans, if you don't come back with anything more logical than you're last post, I'm not wasting any more time with you.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Jake

      Thanks Plucky, glad that was obvious to you too! 🙂

      September 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      assertions presented devoid of evidence may be likewise dismissed.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • John

      You should at least understand what atheism is before spouting such ignorance for all to see.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • timmuh

      You don't know what atheism is. Atheists don't say there is no god, we say the theist has not made their case for their specific deity and so we don't believe. Atheism, spelled with a small a, is not a worldview that makes a claim about the material world, but instead simply the rejection of an unsubstantiated assertion about the world we live in.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Plucky

      Jake,
      Either Romans has "left the building" or he will come back in an hour to make a post here to get the last word in.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Jake

      Last word? I'm still waiting for his first logical word.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Romans

      its sad really that none of you know how to reason. Stating that God doesn't exist because there is no evidence is still a statement of position. Since you have ZERO knowledge that God doesn't exist, you cannot then conclude that he doesn't exist because your five senses say so. It is reasonable to believe that God doesn't exist based on evidence or lack thereof, but the point that I am making is that since No One is omniscient, the lack of belief in God is ultimately a faith based belief. To say the opposite would imply that the individual has knowledge that God doesn't exist. Since no one has knowledge that God IN FACT does not exist, that leaves only the next best option, which is a belief that God doesn't exist. Since you have no evidence for this, that belief is based in faith. Its simple really....

      September 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Romans

      Here's a better question: is Science omniscient??? Can we access everything through the scientific method?

      September 4, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin™

      @Romans – circular argument, look it up.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Jake

      Romans, you continue to ignore the holes that have been poked in your position. Try addressing the problems posed to you rather than repeating yourself. Please answer this: Do you "know" that I won't be eaten by a T-Rex tomorrow or are you agnostic about that possibility? If you "know", do you consider that faith or an evidence / logic based conclusion?

      September 4, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Amniculi

      I KNOW that God doesn't exist just as I KNOW that leprechauns, smurfs, vampires or any other fictional, man-made character doesn't exist. It requires no proof. God is a product of the human imagination.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • timmuh

      @Romans, Atheists DON"T say god doesn't exist. They say that you, the theist, have not made your case for your particular god, so we don't believe you or your claim. Your entire argument is based on the faulty premise that atheists say there is no god, which we don't. Atheism is the most intellectually honest position to take as you know as much about the life hereafter as we do before we were born: Nothing.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Jake

      timmuh, I think you're right that atheists generally wouldn't say, "I know there is no god" without prompting. I would instead put it, "I don't believe there is a god". But when you get into trying to have conversation with religious people who say they "know there is a god", the meaning of the word "know" comes into question as clearly, they don't "know" there is a god. In fact, I would say without question that I "know" there is no god much more legitimately than anyone "knows" there is a god, because god is a man-made fable and the chances of it actually being true are minuscule. I agree with you that technically, I don't "know" there is no god because the concept itself has no basis in reality or evidence and isn't even defined consistently by anyone...sort of the slippery point I guess.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • old ben

      I think agnostic atheist best describes what timmuh is just calling an atheist. Because it seems for many atheists, they not only reject the belief of others as a foundation for proof of a deity's existence, but they also believe that no deities exist. (Although I would think this latter type of atheists are probably in the minority.) I myself am an agnostic atheist.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • old ben

      More clearly:

      I think agnostic atheist best describes what timmuh is just calling an atheist. Because it seems for many atheists, they not only reject the beliefs of others used as a foundation for proof of a deity's existence, but they also believe that no deities exist. (Although I would think this latter type of atheists are probably in the minority.) I myself am an agnostic atheist.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  13. Mystical Pizza

    A woman who discriminated against gay civil partnerships and a man who discriminated against same-s e x couples say they were unfairly dismis sed from their jobs for not doing their job and were discriminated against.
    .

    Christian logic at its best.Is it me or do these Christians sound really ignorant?

    September 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      No, not ignorant at all. No rights are absolute; therefore, conflicts are quite possible.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Counselors have a code of ethics which keeps them from entering therapy if the area of counseling is outside their expertise, training or ethics. When a counseling center tries to force a counselor to violate this code for financial or political reasons, a conscientious person will object.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • sam

      It's still discrimination, Bill...nice try getting around it, though.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • mitch

      You have stated that there is a code, it would seem that the British legal system does not believe the code has any weight or the counselor would not have lost his case. Did you read the story, even if this guy wins in Europe it is up to the Brits to determine the fate of the case; what a waste of time and money.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Would you want to be counseled by a person who was convinced your issues centered around something you held as core to your identiity? Would you trust a counselor who held back their conviction that the lifestyle you were trying to maintain was the cause of your anxiety?

      September 4, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • sam

      It seems to me it's the counselor with the issues that are causing themselves anxiety. They have chosen the wrong profession; you cannot deal with the public at large in that capacity if you're not able to handle certain aspects of life.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      mitch the law in America and i presume England as well states that service are not allowed to be withheld based on seexual orientation. Liberal secular counselors embrace same seex relationships and so have no issue with the portion of the code concerning this. Conservative, religious counselors do. It is simply a matter of the government dictating that your personal ethos is subordinate to the state. Hope you like it.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Sam, they can "handle" it. When an overweight person, for instance comes for counseling they understand that eating is part of their problem and are open to changing it. If a counselor were to suggest that a client's same seex acting out was part of the issue, it would be considered bigoted. When, in fact, the clients seexuality may very well be the central issue. You cannot legislate acceptance of a behavior antiithetical to the counselor and expect them to ignore their client's issue in the name of "therapy"

      September 4, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • mitch

      The professional that I was directed too, I would expect to follow the laws of the land, in this case Britian, and adhere to the policies of his/her employer. If that professional refuses to carry out the employers directives he/she should be fired, That is the issue, not what you think about the quality of the service to be provided, as usual you jump to coclusions.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • mitch

      @Bill
      It is simply a matter of the government dictating that your personal ethos is subordinate to the state.
      Of all your statements and your running away from answering questions this is by far the most hypocrtiical.. Try this, it is the law and the law must be obeyed for the betterment of society not flaunted because of your personal beliefs. Under your scenario it would be still legal to be a polygamist and pedophile because Brigham Young and Joeseph Smith said it was okay because it is part of our personal ethos. Shame.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • billdeacons

      I'm sorry, i've reviewed the post and I don't see a question so, no I haven't run away. According to your line of thinking the Dr's at Auschwitz were just carrying out orders. The fact that the state mandates a behavior does not make it right mitch sorry.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  14. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it ... & history is filled with false Gods and religions.
    Future historians (& school children) will look at the current offerings just like we look at the Myans, Greeks, Norsk, Egyptians and the Westboro Baptist church.

    September 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Beef is forbidden

      But I always thought a pony would be nice.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  15. old ben

    One of cnn's tag lines for a video related to this story is "Fired for Being Christian?". That's quite a stretch from something that just seems to be about employer rules of operation.

    September 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      These are just baitings for ratings.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Damocles

      Oh come on now, you can't get people all worked up and foaming at the mouth without a catchy tagline.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  16. Think-About-It

    Whether you ARE a Christian or NOT, you NEED to watch this video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wivgDck1l88

    September 4, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • old ben

      This is hilarious.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      that is some pretty delusinal stuff.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Drink a couple bottles of Robitussin (see disclaimer below) and you too can have a similar experience-–most likely one that draws upon your own background and personal beliefs-–exactly like this guy's hallucinations matched his own preconceived notions.
      .
      .
      .
      Don't drink cough syrup or, if you do, make sure you understand the dangers of doing so and how to dose Dextromorphan hbr in a RELATIVELY safe manner --and if you haven't spent about 60-100 hours doing very extensive research, you're doing it wrong.

      September 4, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Think-About-It

      When you end up in hell after you pass from this life, you won't think then it's delusion. You've got only one shot at it! After that, your destiny is sealed! Without Christ you're LOST!

      September 4, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  17. Hindu

    Some atheists here say that their only common belief is "lack of belief in God". Well not true. Atheism automatically leads to many other common beliefs -

    1) belief in evolution as the theory of creation
    2) belief that theistic views are the root of all evil
    3) belief in relativistic morals and ethics

    and so on ... so it is a set of beliefs, views and a lifestyle ....

    September 4, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nonsense. You are simply spouting your beliefs, not facts. But keep right on doing just that, Hindu. It makes you look about as bright as WOW.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Amniculi

      As an atheist I can tell you that none of those things are held in common to the atheistic community.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Amniculi

      You might as well say being a Christian automatically leads to stealing the innocence of young boys, witch hunts and the Spanish Inquisition.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Damocles

      What in the world...???

      1)I can have any idea I want as to how everything got here, I just have to be able to back it up with some evidence if I choose to try and talk people into it.
      2) I don't believe religion is the cause of anything, I KNOW people are the cause of good/evil/love/hate
      3)I tried to have the 'moral' conversation with a poster named Chad and it gave me severe acid reflux, so I'd rather not travel down that path with you.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Hindu

      @ Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son -

      I bet these are the views of "majority" of atheists - as soon as you deny God, you have to believe in some kind of evolution as theory of creation - details may differ. Since you consider Atheism good for the world, you must see theism as the root of problems in the world. Since you do not accept a divine source for morals and values, you must come to the relativistic conclusion.

      I am not just saying this on logical basis, my interactions with atheists also reveal the same. I challenge you to conduct a poll among atheists and I bet more than 90% of them will agree with each of those views. ITS A CHALLENGE!!

      September 4, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Primewonk

      This, of course, is another fundiot nutter lie. 90% of the world's 2 billion Christians belong to sects whose position is that there is no problem with a faith in the Christian version of god, and an understanding that evolution is a fact.

      Additionally 12,000+ professional theologians in the US have signed the Clergy Letter Project, againstaing that there is no problem with a faith in god and an understanding that evolution is a fact.

      It is ONLY amongst the fundiot nutters who insist on a literal Genesis that we see this issue. Unfortunately, the majority of these folks live in the US.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Hindu ... I'm embarased for you now.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Hindu

      @Dam - I bet a good majority (more than 90%) of atheists will agree with each of those views. Thats good enough.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Not that i agree with Hindu, but the problem with any of those other beliefs is?

      September 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Hindu

      my point is that atheists have a common set of beliefs, views and agenda AND they are ORGANIZED (e.g. American Atheists) to propagate the same (practical proof billboards) and I have proven it.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Problem is that you stated it "automatically leads to ... " That is simply false.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Damocles

      @hindu

      You bet, or you know? There's a difference.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Hindu

      @0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls -

      there is no problem. and thanks for confirming that atheists have those common set of beliefs and views. that is all I am trying to prove, that they have a common set of beliefs, views and agenda and they are ORGANIZED to propagate the same and convert others. Nothing wrong with it. Everyone tries to convert others to their viewpoint. I am just trying to expose the hypocrisy of some Atheists claiming they are not a group, not organized and do not try to CONVERT.

      Peace and out!

      September 4, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I accept the theory of evolution as being the most plausible explanation for speciation.

      I don't think religion is the "root of all evil" and have said so numerous times, when others have attempted,as you are doing, to put words in my mouth. I have known many wonderful, caring, loving, giving people who are believers-and I've also known atheists and agnostics who were just as caring, loving, and giving.

      As for morality, I challenge you to find evidence that atheists and agnostics are less moral than believers. If you don't have any, I won't be surprised. Like WOW, you talk a good game, but I don't think you've produced much in the way of facts.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      It's been said before but here it is again ...
      Not believing is no more a belief than bald is a hair color.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Hindu

      @Dam -

      I am 100% sure that more than 90% of atheists will agree with each of that view ... so there you have it.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Talk about a friggin' clown.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Hindu

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son -

      I did not claim less morals or ethics ... i said relativistic model of morals and ethics ... that much is true ...

      September 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • mitch

      @Hindu
      Chris Hitchens always said that to a debate with a zealot is useless because no matter how much reason or logic you provide them, their circular arguements will always lead them back to where they started. Your arguement will never have merit untill you can provide proof for any of your statements, you can't and never will.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If you're 100% and you "know", then you must have already conducted such a poll. Post the results. If you have not, then you are guessing. Based on the stupidity of the statements you've made thus far, I don't hold out much hope that your guess is anything but wrong.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Jake

      Not true, but it is hilariously revealing that you realize that once you don't believe in god, evolution is an obvious conclusion! You're absolutely right that the same people who are smart enough not to buy the idea of a guy floating in the sky running the universe are also at least smart enough to believe in evolution!

      In order to NOT believe in evolution, you need to be at least dumb enough to believe in god.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You don't know that, either, Hindu.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Hindu, I disagree with with your premise overall. As I have stated many, many times before – atheism is not automatically anything but a lack of belief in a deity. Just to make you feel better, I will state that I do believe #3. As for #1 and #2, evolution is the theory of evolution (you probably meant the Big Bang Theory) and for #2 "evil" is a relative term. What may be considered evil by one society may be considered a necessity by another, i.e. the eating of pork, or in your case, Hindu, if you really are a Hindu, the eating of beef.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Damocles

      @hindu

      I'm 100% sure that 45% of the 20% of the population that I asked are 45.2% sure that 100% of the global cat population is split exactly 50/50 on whether or not 20% of people that wear yellow 80% of the time are 71% more likely to believe that what you said is 100% correct.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • mitch to Hindu

      I am 100% sure that 10% of people that declare they are christians only show up to church on easter and xmas because they feel guilty, I would go higher on the % but hate to lose a bet.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And I am 100% sure that 70% statistics posted are made up on the spot.

      I'm also 100% sure you're nothing but a fundie troll.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And furthermore, the square root is potato to the power of 16.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Jake

      Hindu, the fundamental thing you're missing here is the difference between causality and correlation. A lack of belief in god, or atheism, is correlated with things like high intelligence, strong independent / critical thinking, non-conformity, logic, etc. and therefore, certain broader views such as not rejecting evolution, objectively observing the positive and negative impacts of religion, etc. Those things correlate with atheism, but are not required by atheism. Atheists who meet those criteria would still hold all those attributes / views even if they were agnostic or even had an inkling towards theism. It's not causal – you don't turn atheist and then take on all those other attributes as a necessary result.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Jake

      And let's not forget, 60% of the time, it works every time.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Ex-Atheist

      I have been touched by his noodly appendage and have converted to Pastafairianism, which allows me to devour copious amounts of spaghetti and meatballs and quaff beer by the quart, thank you, FSM, thank you.
      RAmen

      September 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "I bet these are the views of "majority" of atheists – as soon as you deny God, you have to believe in some kind of evolution as theory of creation – details may differ."

      This is wrong on so many levels...the ignorance is unbelievable.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • timmuh

      @Hindu,
      Theism automatically leads to:

      1) the denial of evolution, which must be rejected to validate one's supernatural beliefs for which there is no evidence what-so-ever,
      2) the belief that nothing bad can be done in god's name, with god's will more often than not corresponding with exactly what the theist wants to do in the first place,
      3) subjective bronze-age morality that is 2,500 years old.

      and so on ...

      Moreover, I accept evolution as I accept germ theory, the theory of plate tectonics, the theory of gravity and the theory of heliocentrism. I accept the lot, whereas you reject just one. Who is the odd one out, you or I?

      September 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Shazzam

      Hindu- "when a person is wrong but can't admit it, they get angry." You sure nailed it. Look how upset the responders are. I once asked an atheist friend who had very strong morals where she got her sense of values from if not from a higher order. She got them from her family, she said. They were devout Catholics, I pointed out. From the laws of our country then, she said. You mean not to steal, lie, or murder like the Commandments? UGH! I try to be nice to people! I think that's a big theological theme as well ... We continued to discuss, ate ice cream, went on to university

      "Some atheists here say that their only common belief is "lack of belief in God". Well not true. Atheism automatically leads to many other common beliefs –

      1) belief in evolution as the theory of creation
      2) belief that theistic views are the root of all evil
      3) belief in relativistic morals and ethics

      and so on ... so it is a set of beliefs, views and a lifestyle ...."

      September 4, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  18. Hypatia

    Xians tasting the bile they have shoveled ot for centuries.

    September 4, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • a reasonable atheist

      My lady, you have been missed for quite some time.

      September 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  19. Amniculi

    Attention, everyone! Join me! Convert to the Church of Atheism! We will be meeting nowhere and studying the sacred texts of nothingness. Convert now or Nobody will be very angry and nothing will happen to you! You have been warned!

    September 4, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Primewonk

      If I join the church of Atheism, will I have to tîthe 0% of my income to the church?

      September 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Of course! Nobody wills it!

      September 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Mystical Pizza

      Sorry I joined the Church of non-believing faries.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Damocles

      @mystic

      No worries, you can always not convert.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • John

      Would anyone want to join me in my hobby of NOT collecting stamps?

      September 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  20. Seidan1

    So let me get this straight, the therapist and the registrar feel they are being discriminated because they were fired for not doing their job while discriminating against other people? That makes complete sense.......

    September 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Welcome to Religious Logic 101...

      September 4, 2012 at 4:11 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.