Human Rights agenda risks totalitarianism, bishop warns

The “Human Rights agenda” is in danger of becoming a new form of totalitarianism, according to a bishop in comments ahead of four religious liberty court cases.

The former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd Michael Nazir-Ali, said the Christian faith and Judaeo-Christian values are the “cornerstone of our freedoms, prosperity and liberty in Europe”.

But he warned of a “deep fear” that such values are under threat from the “Human Rights agenda”.


Bishop Nazir-Ali’s comments come ahead of a quartet of cases which will be heard by the European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday.

The bishop made his comments in reference to the case of Shirley Chaplin. She was told by Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust that she could not wear a cross around her neck while she worked on hospital wards.

The second case centres on Lillian Ladele, a Christian registrar from Islington who was disciplined because of her stance against civil partnerships. Her case is being supported by The Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund.

And the other cases involve Gary McFarlane, a Christian counsellor who was sacked because he did not want to give sex advice to homosexual couples, and Nadia Eweida, who wanted to wear a small cross on the outside of her uniform but was ordered by British Airways to hide it.


Bishop Nazir-Ali said: “The abuse of human rights by secular Governments in Central and Eastern Europe is all too recent.

“The new Human Rights agenda must respect Judaeo-Christian values if it is not to become another inhuman ideology imposing restrictions on individuals.

“There is a deep fear in the United Kingdom that the Human Rights agenda is becoming set against human rights; and seeking to remove Judaeo-Christian values from the public square.”

The comments came in a submission to the European Court of Human Rights seen by a national newspaper.

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