Cameron and Boris back Christians’ right to wear cross
Thu, 15 Mar 2012
The Prime Minister and London Mayor have both indicated their support for Christians who are facing a legal battle over wearing a cross at work.
It comes as the cases of two Christians, Nadia Ewedia and Shirley Chaplin, head to the European Court of Human Rights.
The Government’s official submission claims the Christians’ application to the European Court is “manifestly ill-founded”, according to a document seen by a national newspaper.
But a spokesman for David Cameron said: “The PM’s personal view is that people should be able to wear crosses”.
The spokesman added: “Our view is that the Equality Act as it stands should allow people to express their views in this kind of way.”
If the European Court rules against the Christians, the Government “would have to consider what action” it might take, according to a Downing Street source. Such action could reportedly be to legislate.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has also supported the Christians involved, saying in Parliament: “It is certainly my view that, provided any object does not get in the way of someone doing their job, a discreet display of their religion is something that we should welcome.”
And London Mayor Boris Johnson has also strongly backed Nadia Ewedia.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph Mr Johnson said he had met “the good lady, by chance, on a crowded train in south-west London”.
Mr Johnson commented: “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.”
The Mayor called for “some common sense” in the case.
Nadia Ewedia’s case is one of a quartet of religious liberty cases involving Christians going to Europe.
The others include Shirley Chaplin who was told she could not wear a cross while she worked on hospital wards and Gary McFarlane who was sacked because he did not want to give sex advice to homosexual couples.
The fourth case involves Lillian Ladele, a Christian registrar who was disciplined for her stance on civil partnerships.