The left's "war on religion" is in full swing on both sides of the pond. In the UK, it is rapidly coming to the point where to be a Christian is to be a second class citizen. The Tory government has taken the position in the European Court of Human Rights that employers can fire someone for wearing a cross. Further, although same sex unions are recognized in the UK, the Tory government plans to allow same-sex "marriage" by 2015. This from CNS News:
Britain’s Conservative-led government [Note: The Tory's are "conservative" in name only - they are only a slightly less radical version of Britain's socialist Labor party] plans to argue in a European Court of Human Rights case that employers are entitled to ban the visible wearing of crosses at work because displaying the symbol is not a recognized “requirement” of the Christian faith. . . .
News of the government’s intervention in the case comes amid a raging dispute between the government and church leaders over Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to legalize same-sex marriage by 2015.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is the final destination of two drawn-out legal battles, brought by Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin, two women who fell foul of their employers for wearing crosses at work.
Eweida, a Coptic Christian and British Airways staffer at Heathrow Airport, was told in 2006 to remove or cover up a small cross she wears around her neck. She refused and was sent home on unpaid leave. Eweida noted that colleagues of other religions, including Muslims and Sikhs, were allowed to wear religious items such as hijabs, turbans and religious bracelets.
The airline policy won the backing of the National Secular Society, which complained that activists were “determined to push religion to the front line of British life” and accused Eweida of clearly being “motivated by a wish to evangelize at work.”
The following year British Airways changed its uniform policy and allowed Eweida to return to work, but refused to pay her for the period she was suspended. Claiming religious discrimination, she took the case to an employment tribunal, but lost.
After the Supreme Court declined to consider her case, she decided to take the matter to the ECHR.
Chaplin, a nurse in her 50s, was prohibited from working at a hospital after refusing to cover up a cross she said she had worn at work throughout a 30-year nursing career. An employment tribunal in 2010 ruled in favor of the employer, a government National Health Service (NHS) trust, saying its policy was based on health and safety grounds, not religion, and adding that wearing a cross was not a requirement for Christians.
Six senior Anglican bishops, including former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, backed Chaplin, saying in a March 2010 letter that that nurse “has worn the cross every day since her confirmation [40 years earlier] as a sign of her Christian faith, a faith which led to her vocation in nursing, and which has sustained her in that vital work ever since.”
“The uniform policy of the NHS trust permits exemptions for religious clothing,” they wrote. “This has been exercised with regard to other faiths, but not with regard to the wearing of a cross around the neck.”
The ECHR has also been asked to consider two other cases brought by British Christians claiming religious discrimination – a woman who lost her job with a London council in 2007 after she refused to conduct civil partnership ceremonies for same-sex couples; and a relationship counselor who was fired by a large national charity after refusing to provide sex therapy to same-sex couples.
Britain has given same-sex couples similar legal rights to married couples under civil partnership provisions introduced in 2005.
Now Cameron’s government is proposing to legalize marriage for same-sex couples in England and Wales, launching a public consultation exercise on the matter.
Although churches will not be forced to perform “weddings” for homosexual and lesbian couples, the proposals have ignited a storm of protest.
A letter by senior Roman Catholic archbishops, read at thousands of churches across England and Wales on Sunday, warned that that changing the legal definition of marriage would be a “profoundly radical step” that would “gradually and inevitably transform society’s understanding of the purpose of marriage.”
(H/T Sunlit Uplands and the Daily Gator)
As I wrote recently in A Historical Perspective On Religion & The HHS Mandate:
Socialism is a radical ideology that sprang up largely in response to the ills of the industrial revolution. The goal of socialism is to deconstruct traditional Western society and remake it under the auspices of an omnipotent government that would use its police powers to create a new order of ostensible social and economic equality. Socialists replace God with government as the source of morality.
That is precisely what is happening with this war on Christianity on both sides of the pond. It is a war that the left is winning - and if they fully succeed, history teaches us that the resulting society will more resemble the Soviet Union, circa 1919, than the U.S. in 1776.