The case of the woman wearing a cross
The right to wear a cross is unassailable and must be upheld, says Boris Johnson, Mayor of London.
However, "the most Left-wing judge of the past 50 years. . .a brilliant mind, in the grip of strong ideological prejudice" has departed completely from common sense in ruling that British Airlines did not discriminate against Nadia Eweida when it dismissed her for refusing to take off her cross.
Consequently, writes Boris, in another departure from common sense, the government is arguing against Nadia in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, where she has taken her case under the European Convention of Human Rights. Another British woman, Shirley Chaplin, also appealing discrimination, has joined her.
We observe in passing that it was Brits and Americans who first created human rights, in their own countries, then for the world in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in New York in 1948, and then in the European Convention in 1950.
From Wikipedia: "The British MP and lawyer Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, the Chair of the Assembly's Committee on Legal and Administrative Questions, guided the drafting of the Convention. As a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, he had seen first-hand how international justice could be effectively applied. With his help, French former minister and Resistance fighter Pierre-Henri Teitgen submitted a report to the Assembly proposing a list of rights to be protected, selecting a number from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights just agreed to in New York. . ."
The right to freedom of conscience has been a recognized British right for hundreds of years. British Christians sacrificed their lives fighting for the right in the 16th and 17th centuries.
They had a profound, deeply radical and true idea: The government does not give us our rights. Our rights are our birthright inheritance.
No government has the authority to take our birthright away.
Article 9 of the Human Rights Convention declares: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”
Surely wearing a cross is manifesting faith "in public or private". And surely wearing a cross while working at BA is manifesting faith "in observance"?
Surely the Convention doesn't mean that wearing a cross can only occur when a person is "in worship, teaching, practice and observance" all at the same time?
Hovering in the background is the black burka. What if someone insisted on discarding their BA uniform to manifest their religion by wearing a burka?
Wouldn't common sense suggest that an employee ought to wear her uniform and manifest her religion a little less excessively, a little more modestly?
In Saudia Arabia, where there is only one religion and every woman must wear a burka, this wouldn't be a problem because no woman would be allowed to take a job at BA. Apart from lingerie stores, women are barred from retail jobs.
Boris concludes, "It is time for some common sense".
And grace and love and wisdom.