Monday, January 21, 2013

cross purposes

Follow-up on a couple of recent(ish) posts:

The latest round of appeals by the much put-upon contingent of British Christians cruelly denied their God-given right to publicly proselytise or publicly display their distaste for the gays has been concluded, and the final score was Christians 1 Ladlefuls Of Hot Delicious Justice 3.

The one case the European Court of Human Rights did find in favour of the Christian side on was the Nadia Eweida case - this one is actually a bit more complicated than you might think, and the complaint that she ended up taking to the ECHR was actually against the UK Government rather than British Airways, of whom it could quite reasonably be said that they did everything they could do to come up with a reasonable solution when presented with an employee who in addition to being a Christian was clearly also a massive pain in the arse (I'll leave you to draw your own Venn diagrams here).

Specifically, after initially suspending her, they then changed their clothing and accessories policy to accommodate her requirements (well, not necessarily specifically for that purpose, but that was the effect) and reinstated her. Her case seems to have actually been about reclaiming the salary she was denied during the period of her suspension, plus of course having another day in court in order to wave crucifixes around and generally whinge about how oppressed she was feeling.

In any case, that one was the exception, the other three being considerably simpler and clearer. The ruling against Shirley Chaplin, the nurse, preventing her from wearing dangly jewellery while working was upheld on health and safety grounds, while the other two cases, registrar Lilian Ladele and Relate counsellor Gary McFarlane, were just your standard garden variety tedious bigoted nutters.

There are still a few slightly worrying aspects to UK employment law, though (about which I do not claim to be an expert), specifically the notion that certain employer-sanctioned dress codes can be overridden by employees of certain religions if those religions have mandatory dress requirements, the classic examples being the Muslim headscarf and the Sikh turban. Part of Shirley Chaplin's complaint was that, since Christianity makes no specific demands of its adherents to make any overt display of their religious allegiance through clothing, jewellery etc., she is getting treated differently from, say, a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf. And she's right, she is, though where we differ is in the solution to the problem. Her solution would be for her to be allowed to wear the cross/necklace combo, mine would be for health & safety legislation to override religious displays absolutely without exception.

Also, here's a further entry (so to speak) for the virginity auction files - another Brazilian, 18-year-old Rebecca Bernardo, is holding an online auction to raise money for her mother's medical bills. The accompanying video is in Portuguese, but contains lots of shots of Bernardo looking winsome and innocent while bicycling round the village and sitting at her mother's bedside. Her mother has recently had a stroke; presumably the winner of the auction will get to do something similar, boom boom.

No comments: