From the Christian Legal Centre
THE LIMITS to which British Christians are free to manifest their faith in the public square will be determined next week by Judges sitting in the European Court in Strasbourg.
In an unprecedented hearing on Tuesday (4SEP), the Justices will hear appeals from four British Christians who believe the British Courts, and Laws set by the former Labour Government under the Equality Act, discriminate against their Human Rights.
In recent years, a number of high profile cases have come into the public domain where Christians who expressed their faith, either through refusing to carry out activities which went against the historic teaching of the Christian faith, or through wearing historic Christian symbols, were penalised in the workplace by employers – many have been sacked, or denied work in professional environments.
The four Christians are: Gary McFarlane, an experienced relationship counsellor who was sacked by a counselling service for saying that he might not be comfortable in giving sex therapy to homosexual couples; Shirley Chaplin, a nurse who was banned from working on hospital wards for wearing a cross around her neck; Nadia Eweida, a British Airways employee who was prevented from wearing a cross; and Lillian Ladele, who was disciplined by Islington Council for refusing to conduct civil partnership ceremonies for homosexual couples.
The Christian Legal Centre is representing Shirley Chaplin and Gary McFarlane and has instructed Human Rights barrister, Paul Diamond, to represent them in court.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and founder of the Christian Legal Centre said: “Gary and Shirley have received massive support from the British public who believe that political correctness has gone mad and that hard-working public servants and employees are being discriminated against simply because of their faith. It is very clear at the moment that there is either a major problem in the way that the Equality Act was drafted, and/or the way in which the Courts, and employers, fail to balance the rights of various groups and beliefs.
“The workings of the UK courts has led to deep injustice. If we are successful in Strasbourg I hope that the Equality Act and other diversity legislation will be overhauled, so that Christians are free to work and act in accordance with their conscience.”
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